OSTP wants help in making scientific data accessible

Friday - 11/4/2011, 2:25pm EDT

The America Competes Act requires the universities, private sector and non-government organizations that receive more than $148 billion a year on federally-funded research and development to share the petabytes of data the organization produce.

This is why the Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a request for information today asking for private sector recommendations to ensure long-term and broad public access to unclassified digital research and scientific data.

The RFI asks for input on 13 questions across two main areas: preservation, discoverability and access, and standards for interoperability, reuse and repurposing.

An Interagency Working Group on Digital Data, established under the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Committee on Science, will take these answers and develop options for implementing digital data policy and standards requirements. OSTP then will issue a report to Congress based on describing the priorities for the development of agency policies for ensuring broad public access to the results of federally funded unclassified research, the status of agency policies for public access to digital data resulting from federally funded research and a summary of public input collected from this RFI and other ways.

This is the second time OSTP has sought recommendations. In 2009, the Interagency Working Group on Digital Data of the National Science and Technology Council wrote a report that suggesting several steps agencies could do. The council said agencies should lay the foundation for digital scientific data policy and make their policies publicly available and consider requiring data management plans for projects that will generate "preservation data" — those data for which the benefits of preservation exceed the costs.

Comments are due by Jan. 12.

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