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Ensuring the Utility and Integrity of Research Data in a Digital AGE

Report Released:

Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age (November 2009)
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As digital technologies are expanding the power and reach of research, they are also raising complex issues. These include complications in ensuring the validity of research data; standards that do not keep pace with the high rate of innovation; restrictions on data sharing that reduce the ability of researchers to verify results and build on previous research; and huge increases in the amount of data being generated, creating severe challenges in preserving that data for long-term use.

Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age examines the consequences of the changes affecting research data with respect to three issues - integrity, accessibility, and stewardship-and finds a need for a new approach to the design and the management of research projects. The report recommends that all researchers receive appropriate training in the management of research data, and calls on researchers to make all research data, methods, and other information underlying results publicly accessible in a timely manner. The book also sees the stewardship of research data as a critical long-term task for the research enterprise and its stakeholders. Individual researchers, research institutions, research sponsors, professional societies, and journals involved in scientific, engineering, and medical research will find this book an essential guide to the principles affecting research data in the digital age.

Project Scope

An ad hoc committee will conduct a study of issues that have arisen from the evolution of practices in the collection, processing, oversight, publishing, ownership, accessing, and archiving of research data. The key questions to be addressed are:

1.  What are the growing varieties of research data? In addition to issues concerned with the direct products of research, what issues are involved in the treatment of raw data, pre-publication data, materials, algorithms, and computer codes?

2.  Who owns research data, particularly that which results from federally-funded research? Is it the public? The research institution? The lab? The researcher?

3.  To what extent is a scientist responsible for supplying research data to other scientists (including those who seek to reproduce the research) and to other parties who request them? Is a scientist responsible for supplying data, algorithms, and computer codes to other scientists who request them?

4.  What challenges does the science and technology community face arising from actions that would compromise the integrity of research data? What steps should be taken by the science and technology community, research institutions, journal publishers, and funders of research in response to these challenges?

5.  What are the current standards for accessing and maintaining research data, and, how should these evolve in the future? How might such standards differ for federally-funded and privately-funded research, and for research conducted in academia, government, nongovernmental organizations, and industry?

The study will not address privacy issues and other issues related to human subjects.

Meetings & Events

First Committee Meeting
April 16-17, 2007
The National Academies
Keck Building, Room 100 and Room 101
500 5th Street, NW
Washington, DC
[Additional Information]

Second Committee Meeting
September 17-18, 2007
The National Academies
The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center
Board Room

100 Academy Drive
Irvine, California
[Additional Information]

Third Committee Meeting
December 10-11, 2007
The National Academies
Keck Center, Room 100
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC
[Additional Information]



Dan Kleppner [Co-Chair]
Lester Wolfe Professor of Physics, Emeritus
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Phillip A. Sharp [Co-Chair]
Institute Professor
Center for Cancer Research
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Margaret A. Berger
Professor of Law
Brooklyn Law School

John Brauman  
J. G. Jackson-C. J. Wood Professor
Department of Chemistry
Stanford University

Norman M. Bradburn
Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus
Department of Psychology
The University of Chicago

Jennifer T. Chayes
Principal Researcher and Research Area Manager, Mathematics, Theoretical CS and Cryptography
Microsoft Research

Anita Jones
Lawrence R. Quarles Professor of Engineering and Applied Science
University of Virginia

Linda P.B. Katehi
Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

[Committee Biographical Information]

Neal F. Lane
University Professor and Senior Fellow
Rice University

W. Carl Lineberger
Professor of Chemistry
Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics
University of Colorado

Richard Luce
Vice Provost and Director of University Libraries
Emory University

Thomas O. McGarity
Chair, Trial & Appellate Advocacy
University of Texas-Austin

Steven M. Paul
Executive Vice President, S&T and President, Lilly Research Laboratories
Eli Lilly and Company

Teresa A. Sullivan
Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan

Mike S. Turner
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
The University of Chicago

J. Anthony Tyson
Distinguished Professor of Physics
University of California, Davis

Steven C. Wofsy
Professor of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences 
Harvard University




Thomas Arrison
Study Director
Phone Number: (202) 334-3755
Email: [email protected]

Neeraj P. Gorkhaly
Senior Program Assistant
Phone Number: (202) 334-1358
Email: [email protected]


National Research Council, USDA, NASA, USGS/INTR, DHHS/ORI, DoE, Eli Lilly and Company, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Nature Publishing Group, The Rockefeller University Press, New England Journal of Medicine, American Chemical Society, FASEB, AAAS, American Geophysical Union and  IEEE 


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