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NSF on Data and Visualisation - Report 
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ANDS Staff
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Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:33 pm
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The US National Science Foundation's advisory committee for cyberinfrastructure releseased the report of its Task Force on Data and Visualisation. The report was released in March and can be found here:

I have included the executive supmmary below so you can get the flavour of the report. It is focused squarely on data and data management.

"Executive Summary
The Task Force strongly encourages the NSF to create a sustainable data infrastructure fit to support
world-class research and innovation. It believes that such infrastructure is essential to sustain the United
States’ long-term leadership in scientific research and to capitalize on a legacy that can drive future
discoveries, innovation, and national prosperity. To help realize this potential the Task Force identified
challenges and opportunities that will require focused and sustained investment with clear intent and
purpose; these are clustered into six main areas:

(1) Infrastructure Delivery - Acknowledge that data infrastructure and services are essential research
assets fundamental to today’s science and worthy of long-term investments. Make specific budget
allocations for the establishment and maintenance of research data sets and services and associated
software and visualization tools.

(2) Culture and Sociological Change - Introduce new funding models that reinforce expectations and
institute specific conditions for data sharing. Create new norms and practices for citation and
attribution so that data producers, software and tool developers, and data curators are credited with
their contributions to scientific research.

(3) Roles and Responsibilities - Recognize that responsibility for data stewardship is shared among
Principal Investigators, research centers, university research libraries, discipline-based libraries and
archives, national scientific agencies, and commercial service providers. Determine a model for data
stewardship and trust relationships among these parties in which there is clarity regarding ownership
of data, software, and services, and a delineation of roles and responsibilities where
interdependencies exist.

(4) Economic Value and Sustainability - Develop and publish realistic cost models to underpin
institutional/national business plans for research repositories/data services.

(5) Data Management Guidelines - Identify and share best practices for critical areas of data

(6) Ethics, Privacy and Intellectual Property - Invest in the research and training of the research
community in privacy-preserving data-access so that PIs can embrace privacy by design.

The Task Force believes that focusing on and investing in these challenges and opportunities will drive
transformational research founded on cyberinfrastructure-enabled science. These recommendations
stand to improve repeatability and reproducibility of science. They will increase access to data needed by
individual investigators and small projects that constitute the “long-tail” of the scientific research
community. Over time, investments in infrastructure for data analysis, reuse, and archiving will create
jobs in software and tool development, data storage, and data curation, and increase the development
pipeline of individuals with these key skills. Such skills will help the U.S. develop its educational pipeline
and develop world-class expertise in large-scale data management, curation, and analysis - all critical for
increasing scientific productivity, enabling scientific discovery and technical innovation.

The Task Force notes that its specific recommendations for improved data management should be
viewed as a means to accomplish scientific discovery not as ends in themselves. Also, the Task Force
acknowledges that a policy of retaining all scientific data is impractical and therefore recommends that the
NSF support researchers and research communities undertaking the effective triaging of data for
retention, archiving, and deletion. Furthermore, there are important lessons to be taken from other studies
on infrastructure projects and, in particular, the dynamics and interplay between people, technology,
institutions, and data (1).

The Task Force has not identified any recommendations for specific investments in visualization. This
topic was explored, and the need for visualization and other analytical tools was acknowledged as
integral to data-based advances in science. We suggest that the NSF refers to the Task Force focused on
Cyber Science and Engineering for policy guidance on future visualization-related investments/programs."

Susannah Sabine

Research Analyst
Australian National Data Service
ANU Division of Information
W. K. Hancock Building (#43)
The Australian National University
Canberra, ACT, 0200, AUSTRALIA
phone: +61 2 6125 1211

Mon May 23, 2011 12:37 pm
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