Strategies for Open and Permanent Access to Scientific Information in Latin America: Focus on Health and Environmental Information for Sustainable Development

Management Issues for Permanent Access to Scientific Information: Increases in Programmatic Scale and Change

Raymond McCord, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, United States

Permanent access to scientific information depends on ALL of the following elements: existence, permission, discovery, understanding, and support. Management is responsible for assuring that resources are allocated for these elements and guiding the methods that are used to attain all of them. Significant issues related to "access" include recognizing the changes in complexity of the information context as the data collection expands and providing incentives to overcome this complexity. Successful management for permanent access will provide guidance that minimizes the sources of information complexity and maximizes the efficiency of addressing the remaining complexity. Excessive complexity in the documentation of information can impede the existence, discovery, understanding, and support of scientific information that is intended to be accessible. Management must support the development of incentives to retain and share information, the requirements for the broadening scope of metadata as the data collection expands, the implementation of standards for metadata, the training of researchers in general techniques for documentation (metadata) and management of data, and the design of practices that accommodate the inherent change that originates from research discoveries. The procedures for preparing information for permanent access should be merged with the research planning as part of a "modern scientific method" and should receive similar incentives. Management should reinforce these practices by insisting on early planning for permanent access (data archiving) and providing specific rewards for these activities. Other management issues include protecting initial discovery opportunities, supporting long-term stewardship of data (supporting the evolving contexts for the data and answering questions after the project is completed), and providing "cross training" of archive personnel in both scientific and information disciplines.

  • The Global Alliance for Enhancing Access to and Application of Scientific Data in Developing Countries, of the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development, UN G@ID
  • U.S. National Committee for CODATA
  • Brazilian National Committee for CODATA.
  • CODATA Task Group on Preservation of and Access to Scientific and Technical Data in Developing Countries