ASIS&T 2006 START Conference Manager    

Access to Scientific Data: The Social and Technical Challenges and Strategies

Session 1 speakers: Yale M. Braunstein, University of California Berkeley Caroline Whitbeck, Case Western Reserve University Mark Parsons, University of Colorado Session 2 speakers: Timothy E. Eastman, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Sherry Xie, University of British Columbia John D’Ignazio, Syracuse University

ASIS&T Annual Meeting - 2006 (ASIS&T 2006)
Austin, Texas, November 3-9, 2006


The practice of science has changed in the last three decades due to the rapid development of information and communication technologies and massive increases in computing capacity, made manifest by the Internet. As the International Council for Science (ICSU) describes in its recently released five-year strategic plan, there is more scientific data and information openly available than ever before. This environment enables scientists around the world access to the most up-to-date data and information from his or her desktop. “Secondary analyses of data, and the combining of data from multiple sources, are opening up exciting new scientific horizons. Scientific publication practices are changing rapidly.” (ICSU, 2005, 16-17) These revolutionary changes in the creation, management, and use of scientific data and information have significant economic and social implications, including open sharing versus intellectual property protection. In addition to the related economic and legal aspects of these issues, there are technical challenges in managing the lifecycle of scientific data. Long-term preservation strategies are evolving to ensure that the authenticity of scientific data can be verified, and to enable knowledge discovery and interoperability via metadata representations of the data collections.

To maximize the impact of scientific data, the information community needs to promote new thinking and structures in society to properly collect, preserve and distribute this resource. In response to the issues and challenges in access to scientific data and information, work needs to be done on multiple levels in the social conduct of research to enhance access to scientific data.

Panel One will discuss the emerging intellectual property structures that apply to scientific data; as with scientific publishing of manuscripts, battle lines are forming over the need to protect an organization’s investment in creating data versus the benefits of open sharing and communication.

Panel Two will focus on the micro-level: emerging structures at the discipline or personal level to facilitate archival and promote use of data sets and collaboration among scientists.

The two panels of experts conduct social, economic, and technical research of scientific data and information and will be prepared to discuss differing notions of the requirements and possible effects of change on both the macro- and micro-level.

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