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Board on Research Data and Information
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Board on Research Data and Information
Policy and Global Affairs Division
The National Academies
Room 511
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Phone: (202) 334-1531
Fax: (202) 334-2231

Permanent Access to Scientific Data: Preservation and Archiving of Scientific and Technical Data

The USNC/CODATA has had a long standing interest in the issues relating to the permanent access—i.e., the preservation of and access to—scientific and technical data. The USNC/CODATA has helped support the activities of an international CODATA Working Group on Scientific Data Archiving since 2001. The working group compiled a list of key issues in this area, developed an annotated bibliography of Web-based resources, and supported the organization of a data archiving workshop in Pretoria, South Africa, in May 2002. At the October 2002 CODATA General Assembly, this working group was converted to the Task Group on Preservation and Archiving of Scientific and Technical Data in Developing Countries. This Task Group was most recently renewed at the CODATA General Assembly in October 2008 in Kyiv.

The USNC/CODATA has convened an informal data archiving subgroup that supports the activities of the Task Group and examines issues relevant to archiving digital scientific data. The portfolio of USNC/CODATA activities relating to permanent access to digital scientific data have included:

  • CODATA Task Group on Preservation and Archiving of Scientific and Technical Data in Developing Countries 
    The objectives of the CODATA Task Group on “Preservation and Archiving of Scientific and Technical Data in Developing Countries” are to: 1) promote a deeper understanding of the needs of developing countries with regard to long-term preservation, archiving, and access to S&T data; 2) advance the development and adoption of improved archiving procedures, technologies, standards, and policies; and 3) provide an interdisciplinary forum and mechanisms for exchanging information about S&T data archiving requirements and activities, with particular focus on the concerns and needs of developing countries. The USNC/CODATA has vigorously supported the activities of this task group in since 2004.
  • Strategies for Permanent Access to Scientific Information in Southern Africa: Focus on Health and Environmental Information for Sustainable Development—An International Workshop   
    This workshop was held on 6-8 September 2005 at the National Research Foundation in Pretoria, South Africa, and provided an international and interdisciplinary forum to promote a deeper understanding of, and requirements for, long-term preservation of and open access to digital scientific information resources for sustainable development in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
  • Workshop on Strategies for Preservation of and Open Access to Digital Scientific Data in China
    The USNC worked with the CODATA Task Group on the Preservation and Archiving of S&T Data in Developing Countries and the Chinese National CODATA Committee to convene a workshop on Strategies for Preservation of and Open Access to Digital Scientific Data in Beijing, China, in June 2004, in collaboration with the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology, the Chinese Agency for Science and Technology, and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The workshop provided an interdisciplinary forum and promoted a deeper understanding of long-term preservation, archiving, and open access to scientific data in the developing country context. This activity led to the formation of the U.S.-China Roundtable on Scientific Data Cooperation.
  • CODATA/ERPANET Workshop on the Selection, Appraisal, and Retention of Scientific Data
    The USNC/CODATA jointly convened an archiving workshop on the criteria for the selection, retention, and appraisal of S&T data with CODATA and ERPANET, the Electronic Resource Preservation and Access Network, which is funded by the European Commission. The workshop was held on 15-17 December 2003 at the Biblioteca Nacional in Lisbon, and brought together over 60 researchers, data managers, information specialists, and archivists from 13 countries to discuss the issues involved in making critical decisions regarding the long-term preservation of the scientific record. For additional information, including workshop presentations and final report, please log onto