The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
Board on Research Data and Information
Policy and Global Affairs
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Board on Research Data and Information
Policy and Global Affairs Division
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

First BRDI Meeting, January 29-30, 2009

Thanks to everyone on the Board for a productive first meeting. We ended with the following list of activities, which are grouped according to dates for completion and include names of people who expressed an interest. Please check whether you are correctly assigned or if I left you off. This is of course especially the case for those Board members who were absent.
Ongoing activities: 
A.  Two pre-existing workshops: one broad, one focused.
"Future of Scientific Knowledge Discovery in Open Networked Environments" - Dan Atkins (lead?)
Other volunteers to help: Chris Borgman, Sara Graves, Ernest Wilson, Bonnie Carroll, Michael Carroll, Francine Berman, Alyssa Goodman
"Designing Microbial Research Commons" - Cathy Wu
Other volunteers to help: Michael Carroll, Michael Lesk (others TBD)
This project is already underway with existing funding. There was some discussion about criteria for pursuing single-discipline projects, but no immediate conclusion. The concerns expressed about broadening the perspective to other related contexts/disciplines will be taken into account, however.
Near-term activities (next several weeks):
B.  Position paper and outreach to decision makers/potential sponsors
We need to draft both a 1-page letter introducing the Board that is aimed at select decision makers and potential funders, and a 2-pager describing the urgency of data problems and the benefits of solving them, including other background.  I confess to some curiosity about how to stand out in a time of extremely urgent economic and foreign policy issues, but then I checked on what bills had been thought worth introducing in Congress in January, and found one to study whether Alexander Hamilton's home in the Virgin Islands should be a National Historical Park.  Urgency is clearly a flexible concept. My best thoughts for the "urgency" is lines like "if doctors can't get the best information, patients die" or "when we suddenly discover we care about lithium batteries, it's good to have some geology data around".
There is a claim in an early paper on the Astrophysics Data Service (Michael J. Kurtz et al, Astron. Astrophys. Suppl. Ser. 143, 41-59) saying that the service increases the efficiency of astronomical research by 333 FTE researchers.  More such estimates would be useful.
1-page letter:  Michael Nelson, Ernest Wilson
2-pager: Chris Borgman, Alyssa Goodman, Dan Atkins, Fran Berman, Bonnie Carroll, Michael Keller, Ernest Wilson
Both should be completed in the next week, along with a list of target recipients matched with Board members who can do personal introductions/meetings.
Names/positions of some people to be contacted include:
John Holdren, OSTP; Julius Jankowski, FCC; Tom Kalil, Obama Transition Team; Cass Sunstein, OMB/OIRA;
New Board Sponsors: Agency heads/directors of research at: EPA, NASA, NOAA, USGS, DOE, USDA, NARA (please suggest)
C. Addition of an economist to the Board membership
All: Please submit names/affiliations/rationale for appointment to Paul Uhlir by February 20.
D.  Prioritize Board’s work plan
Develop criteria for prioritization of Board’s work, including review of all sponsor and Board Suggestions, and sort all suggested projects accordingly.
- Michael Lesk and Roberta Balstad (leads)
Everyone else should provide comments
E.  Review of Board’s outreach and coordination activities
All: Review the Board’s list of “Other Organizations with Related Interests and Activities” and suggest organizations and informal liaisons. Also review the website and provide suggestions: 
F.  Administrative items
All Board members who have not yet done so, please submit to the staff by Feb 20 your:
(1) Signed form of acceptance of membership
(2) Signed Bias and Conflict of Interest form, together with your CV
(3) Dates of your availability for the next Board meeting (June-Sept)
(4) Travel expense form with receipts
(5) URL for your activities to be added to your name of the list of Board Members on the BRDI website
Activities to be completed before the next Board meeting:
G.  Proposed projects
Economics of information: trying to quantify the national benefits from better information stewardship and utilization.  Note Fran's existing study.
    Michael Nelson, Cathy Wu, Michael Lesk, Francine Berman, Bonnie Carroll
Best practices for data lifecycle
    Michael Keller, Dan Atkins, Sara Graves, Myron Gutmann
(Various such reports already exist and need some summarization)
Sensitive data and interoperability: how to manual
    Michael Lesk, Maureen Baginski, Sara Graves, Donald Steinwachs
(This has relevance to both medicine and security, but there are many other reports already dealing with some of the restriction or dual use issues).
Other projects mentioned that need some follow up {TBD}:
-          Distributed stewardship
-          OCW/OER + media/youth/learning + open data for education
H.  Proposal for young researchers and BRDI
All: Comment on proposal updated by staff and then begin implementation
Again many thanks; and we encourage those who missed the meeting to nevertheless pick some activities they are interested in, and communicate with us.
Michael Lesk & Paul Uhlir