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New approach to ensure challenges to data access and management don't slow scientific progress

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Suzhou, China - Complex changes in data production, distribution and archiving--and issues they raise regarding who pays for data, who preserves it and who has access to it--should prompt an international initiative that ensures current and future scientists worldwide will have the information they need, according to a new report on challenges to data management and access presented today to the International Council for Science (ICSU).

The report--written by an expert panel appointed by ICSU -- was formally presented today at the ICSU 28th General Assembly in Suzhou, China. It calls for establishing an international scientific data and information forum to promote a more coordinated approach to data collection and distribution. Such a forum could also play a key role in ensuring that scientists in developing countries have equitable access to scientific data and information.

"Data gathering, analysis and distribution has been profoundly and positively changed by quantum advances in computer hardware, software and connectivity and the result is that scientists can have access to more high quality data than ever before," said Roberta Balstad, director of Columbia University's Center for International Earth Science Information Network and chair of the ICSU Priority Area Assessment (PAA) on Data and Information.

"But these new data and information technologies bring with them a series of challenges as well," she added. "For example, we don't always have the necessary legal and regulatory frameworks in place to get the full benefit of scientific data. We lack a coherent approach to preserving and archiving the incredible wealth of information being produced. And the more the access to long-term reservoirs of data becomes central to the modern scientific enterprise, the mor
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Contact: Coimbra Sirica
csirica@burnesscommunications.com
+1-631-757-4027
International Council for Science
20-Oct-2005


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