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White House Working Group Releases Strategy for Digital Scientific Data

By Government Computer News

April 6, 2009

The United States should develop a strategic policy for digital preservation of and access to scientific data, concludes a report by the National Science and Technology Council's (NSTC's) Interagency Working Group on Digital Data. The report urges the creation of interagency and agency-specific policies for the management of data generated by or for government throughout its life cycle.

"Our nation's continuing leadership in science relies increasingly on effective and reliable access to digital scientific data," said John H. Marburger III with the president's Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). "Researchers and students who can find and re-use digital data are able to apply them in innovative ways and novel combinations for discovery and understanding."

Newly appointed federal CIO Vivek Kundra has proposed a central online repository for scientific information at data.gov, which OSTP is reportedly working to deploy. The report recommends bringing together the growing corpora of digital data with the people who will be using and exploiting it, and outlines a vision to "create a comprehensive framework of transparent, evolvable, extensible policies and management and organizational structures that provide reliable, effective access to the full spectrum of public digital scientific data." The study recommends the establishment of a NSTC subcommittee for digital scientific data preservation, access, and interoperability; platforms for agency digital scientific data policy being set down and made accessible by appropriate departments and agencies; and promotion by the agencies of a data management planning process for projects that generate data that should be saved.

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