Climate Change Research:

Agencies Have Data-Sharing Policies but Could Do More to Enhance the Availability of Data from Federally Funded Research

GAO-07-1172: Published: Sep 28, 2007. Publicly Released: Oct 22, 2007.

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Much of the nearly $2 billion annual climate change research budget supports grants from the Department of Energy (DOE), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and National Science Foundation (NSF). Some of the data generated by this research are stored in online archives, but much remains in a less accessible format with individual researchers. As a result, some researchers are concerned about the availability of data. GAO analyzed (1) the key issues that data-sharing policies should address; (2) the data-sharing requirements, policies, and practices for external climate change researchers funded by DOE, NASA, NOAA, and NSF; and (3) the extent to which these agencies foster data sharing. GAO examined requirements, policies, and practices and surveyed the 64 officials managing climate change grants at these agencies.

According to the scientific community--as represented by the National Academies and professional scientific associations--four key issues that data-sharing policies should address include what, how, and when data are to be shared, as well as the cost of making data available to other researchers. First, the information necessary to support major published results should be made available to other researchers. However, there are statutory limits on data sharing--such as intellectual property protections--as well as practical limits such as the lack of appropriate archives. Second, when the appropriate infrastructure exists, data should be made accessible through unrestricted archives. Third, data should generally be made available immediately or after a limited proprietary period to allow for analysis and publication of results. Fourth, data should be made available at no more than the marginal cost of reproduction and distribution. Finally, the extent to which specific policies address these key data-sharing issues may vary, depending on the type of research. Although some program managers at all four agencies have included data-sharing requirements in grant awards, these agencies rely primarily on policies and practices to encourage researchers to make climate change data available. An interagency policy, as well as numerous agency, program, and project-specific data-sharing policies, encourages researchers to make climate change data available. The policies range from broad statements calling for open and timely access to data to more detailed policies that define the mechanisms and timelines for making the data accessible. Further, these policies often vary according to the needs of specific research programs or projects. Beyond their written requirements and policies, all of the agencies also rely on unwritten practices to facilitate data sharing. For example, two program managers withhold grant payments if data have not been made available for use by other researchers. While the four agencies have taken steps to foster data sharing, they neither routinely monitor whether researchers make data available nor have fully overcome key obstacles and disincentives to data sharing. Because agencies do not monitor data sharing, they lack evidence on the extent to which researchers are making data available to others. Key obstacles and disincentives could also limit the availability of data. For example, one obstacle is the lack of archives for storing certain kinds of climate change data, such as some ecological data, which places a greater burden on the individual researcher to preserve it. Preparing data for future use is also a laborious and time-consuming task that can serve as a disincentive to data sharing. In addition, data preparation does not further a research career as does publishing results in journals. The scientific community generally rewards researchers who publish in journals, but preparation of data for others' use is not an important part of this reward structure. Consequently, researchers are less likely to focus on preserving data for future use, thereby putting the data at risk of being unavailable to other researchers.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's draft scientific integrity policy (see http://www.noaa.gov/scientificintegrity/index.html) emphasizes good stewardship of research on behalf of others through (1) Diligently creating, using, preserving, documenting, and maintaining collections and data, and (2) Adhering to established quality assurance and quality control programs; following Department of Commerce records retention policies, and complying with Federal law and agreements related to use, security, and release of confidential and proprietary data. Consistent with this approach, NOAA has established a Data Management Policy, which provides that environmental data will be visible, accessible, and independently understandable to users, except where limited by law, regulation, policy (such as those applicable to personally identifiable information or protected critical infrastructure information or proprietary trade information) or by security requirements. More details are available at: www.corporateservices.noaa.gov/~ames/NAOs/Chap_212/naos_212_15.html.

    Recommendation: To ensure that researchers receiving federal funds to conduct climate change research understand NOAA's expectations for data sharing, the Secretary of Commerce and the NOAA Administrator should develop a set of written guidelines or use existing governmentwide guidelines, such as those endorsed by the Climate Change Science Program, to clearly inform researchers of NOAA's general expectations for data sharing.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On December 17, 2010, the Office of Science and Technology Policy required executive Departments and agencies to develop scientific integrity policies that implement broad principles, including enhancing openness and transparency in the communication of government science. A June 15, 2011 memorandum clarifies that the Department of Commerce will defer to each of its bureaus with an interest in science to determine whether it is necessary to develop bureau-specific guidance. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's draft scientific integrity policy (see http://www.noaa.gov/scientificintegrity/index.html) emphasizes good stewardship of research on behalf of others through (1) Diligently creating, using, preserving, documenting, and maintaining collections and data, and (2) Adhering to established quality assurance and quality control programs; following Department of Commerce records retention policies, and complying with Federal law and agreements related to use, security, and release of confidential and proprietary data. Consistent with this approach, NOAA has established a Data Management Policy, which provides that environmental data will be visible, accessible, and independently understandable to users, except where limited by law, regulation, policy (such as those applicable to personally identifiable information or protected critical infrastructure information or proprietary trade information) or by security requirements. More details are available at: www.corporateservices.noaa.gov/~ames/NAOs/Chap_212/naos_212_15.html.

    Recommendation: To ensure that researchers receiving federal funds to conduct climate change research understand NOAA's expectations for data sharing, the Secretary of Commerce and the NOAA Administrator should develop a set of written guidelines or use existing governmentwide guidelines, such as those endorsed by the Climate Change Science Program, to clearly inform researchers of NOAA's general expectations for data sharing.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NSF published an updated National Science Foundation Open Government Directive Plan on September 20, 2010 (available at http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=opengov). The plan describes mechanisms NSF uses to publicly share high value datasets. Initially, NSF has made four high value data sets available through Data.gov, including Freedom of Information Act data from 2008-2009, NSF funding rates for competitive research proposals from FY 2009, and information about NSF Graduate Research Fellowship awardees, and honorable mention recipients for the past ten years.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the agencies maximize opportunities to make data available in a manner useful to other researchers, Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, the NASA Administrator, the NOAA Administrator, and the NSF Director should consider developing mechanisms for agencies to be systematically notified when data have been submitted to archives, so that agency officials have current information about the extent of data availability in order to adjust data-sharing policies over time to best meet the needs of researchers and the communities that use their data.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to an Open Government Directive from the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Commerce released a Department-wide plan for Open Government on April 7, 2010, which was subsequently updated on June 30, 2011. The plan (available at http://open.commerce.gov/open-government-plan) describes how the Department of Commerce expects to increase transparency, participation, and collaboration. Specifically, it includes information on 43 projects to increase transparency by publishing high value information on data.gov, including efforts to modernize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration climate database and provide online access to historical climate data. In addition, Commerce grant information, including data management requirements, if any, is available through grants.gov.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the agencies maximize opportunities to make data available in a manner useful to other researchers, Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, the NASA Administrator, the NOAA Administrator, and the NSF Director should consider developing mechanisms for agencies to be systematically notified when data have been submitted to archives, so that agency officials have current information about the extent of data availability in order to adjust data-sharing policies over time to best meet the needs of researchers and the communities that use their data.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NASA implemented our recommendation to maximize opportunities to make data available in a manner useful to other researchers. NASA has mechanism in place to systematically make broad public announcements of new data sets and updated versions of existing products added to its archives. NASA Earth science data sets and updated data products are announced to the approximate 1,000-person Earth Observing System (EOS) investigators working group email list and on NASA's EOS data and Information System Distributed Active Archive Center (DAAC) websites. NASA supports nine DAACs. NASA provided us with several examples of its public announcements, such as METI and NASA Release the ASTER Global DEM (Https://lpdaac.usgs.gov/lpdaac/abot/news_archive/monday-june-29-2009); Sea Ice Concentrations From Nimbus-7 SMMR and DMSP SSM/I Passive Microwave Data (http://nsidc.org/data/news.htm) NASA also indicated that they continue populating the Global Change Master Directory (GMCD), a 25,000 metadata directory, at the rate of about 3,000 descriptions per year. A new version of GMCD software was released in 2008.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the agencies maximize opportunities to make data available in a manner useful to other researchers, Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, the NASA Administrator, the NOAA Administrator, and the NSF Director should consider developing mechanisms for agencies to be systematically notified when data have been submitted to archives, so that agency officials have current information about the extent of data availability in order to adjust data-sharing policies over time to best meet the needs of researchers and the communities that use their data.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In a written response to GAO-07-1172, DOE stated that for all climate change research grants awarded from DOE, DOE will request that, when data has been submitted to DOE (or other agency)-sponsored archives, the Principal Investigator notify the appropriate contact in DOE. DOE will include a stipulation in the terms and conditions of each climate change research grant awarded by DOE's Office of Science that annual progress reports and the final report must document the data obtained from DOE-sponsored research and must identify where the data has been submitted for archiving, whether at DOE or at other agency's archives. (Source: DOE Management History Report at HQ DM 4501704) Further, according to the Department of Energy's June 2010 Open Government Plan, in December 2009, as part of its efforts to promote clean energy technologies, the Department of Energy launched Open Energy Information. This open-source web platform makes a range of DOE resources and open energy data widely available to the public. The free, editable and evolving wiki-platform enables the sharing of resources by government officials, the private sector, project developers, the international community and others. The Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy worked closely with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and other National Laboratories to develop and populate the Open Energy Information platform. The site hosts more than 60 clean energy resources and datasets, including project and system modeling software, and over time, this portal will include expanded on-line training, technical expert networks, and new data and information from US national labs and international partnerships. The Department of Energy also exported 22 energy-related datasets to data.gov to improve public accessibility to these data, including a dataset on DOE Research and Development Project Summaries. These summaries contain bibliographic data for summaries of energy-related scientific projects performed since 1995 by DOE laboratories and other research facilities. For more information on DOE's open government activities, see http://www.energy.gov/open/.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the agencies maximize opportunities to make data available in a manner useful to other researchers, Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, the NASA Administrator, the NOAA Administrator, and the NSF Director should consider developing mechanisms for agencies to be systematically notified when data have been submitted to archives, so that agency officials have current information about the extent of data availability in order to adjust data-sharing policies over time to best meet the needs of researchers and the communities that use their data.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to an Open Government Directive from the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of Commerce released a Department-wide plan for Open Government on April 7, 2010, which was subsequently updated on June 30, 2011. The plan (available at http://open.commerce.gov/open-government-plan) describes how the Department of Commerce expects to increase transparency, participation, and collaboration. Specifically, it includes information on 7 NOAA projects to increase transparency by publishing high value information on data.gov, including efforts to modernize its climate database and provide online access to historical climate data. In addition, NOAA grant information, including data management requirements, if any, is available through grants.gov.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the agencies maximize opportunities to make data available in a manner useful to other researchers, Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, the NASA Administrator, the NOAA Administrator, and the NSF Director should consider developing mechanisms for agencies to be systematically notified when data have been submitted to archives, so that agency officials have current information about the extent of data availability in order to adjust data-sharing policies over time to best meet the needs of researchers and the communities that use their data.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's draft scientific integrity policy (see http://www.noaa.gov/scientificintegrity/index.html) emphasizes good stewardship of research on behalf of others through (1) Diligently creating, using, preserving, documenting, and maintaining collections and data, and (2) Adhering to established quality assurance and quality control programs; following Department of Commerce records retention policies, and complying with Federal law and agreements related to use, security, and release of confidential and proprietary data. Consistent with this approach, NOAA has established a Data Management Policy, which provides that environmental data will be visible, accessible, and independently understandable to users, except where limited by law, regulation, policy (such as those applicable to personally identifiable information or protected critical infrastructure information or proprietary trade information) or by security requirements. The policy applies to all NOAA environmental and geospatial data and to the personnel and organizations that manage these data, including Line Offices, Program Managers, NOAA National Data Centers, and Centers of Data. More details are available at: www.corporateservices.noaa.gov/~ames/NAOs/Chap_212/naos_212_15.html. According to Chapter 9 of the Updated Department of Commerce Grants Manual (available at http://oam.eas.commerce.gov/gmd_updated-doc.html), unsatisfactory performance under prior Federal awards may result in an application not being considered for funding if a determination of "nonresponsibility" is made by the Grants Officer, based on recommendation of an appropriate program official.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the agencies maximize opportunities to make data available in a manner useful to other researchers, the Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, the NASA Administrator, the NOAA Administrator, and the NSF Director should consider using the grant review process, where their program offices are not currently doing so, to facilitate further data sharing by (1) evaluating researchers' data-sharing plans as part of the grant review process and (2) using evidence of researchers' past data-sharing practices to make future award decisions. The use of such criteria in the grant review process should be clearly conveyed to researchers before they submit research proposals and after award decisions have been made.

    Agency Affected: National Science Foundation

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NASA provided us with information demonstrating how its grant review process facilitates data sharing. NASA employs "full and open exchange" data policy for its satellite data and standard products holdings. According to the agency's Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences Guidebook for Proposers, all data taken through research programs sponsored by NASA are considered public and requires prompt public disclosure of the results, and significant findings from supported research are to be promptly submitted for peer reviewed publication with authorship(s) that accurately reflect the contribution of those involved. In addition, as a general policy NASA no longer recognizes a proprietary period for exclusive use of any new scientific data that may be acquired through the execution of the award; instead all data collected through any of its funded programs are to be placed in the public domain at the earliest possible time following their validation and calibration. NASA also indicated that the review process of competitive peer-reviewed proposals from researchers who had previously received NASA funds, examines the responsiveness of the researcher in satisfying NASA's policy of release of data products and results from research. Responsibility for data sharing policies is shared by NASA Program Managers and NASA Earth Observing System Data and Information System Distributed Active Archive Centers (EOCDIS DAACs).

    Recommendation: To ensure that the agencies maximize opportunities to make data available in a manner useful to other researchers, the Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, the NASA Administrator, the NOAA Administrator, and the NSF Director should consider using the grant review process, where their program offices are not currently doing so, to facilitate further data sharing by (1) evaluating researchers' data-sharing plans as part of the grant review process and (2) using evidence of researchers' past data-sharing practices to make future award decisions. The use of such criteria in the grant review process should be clearly conveyed to researchers before they submit research proposals and after award decisions have been made.

    Agency Affected: National Science Foundation

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On December 17, 2010, the Office of Science and Technology Policy required executive Departments and agencies to develop scientific integrity policies that implement broad principles, including enhancing openness and transparency in the communication of government science. A June 15, 2011 memorandum clarifies that the Department of Commerce will defer to each of its bureaus with an interest in science to determine whether it is necessary to develop bureau-specific guidance (see http://www.commerce.gov/sites/default/files/documents/2011/june/scientific_integrity_memorandum.pdf) The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's draft scientific integrity policy (see http://www.noaa.gov/scientificintegrity/index.html) emphasizes good stewardship of research on behalf of others through (1) Diligently creating, using, preserving, documenting, and maintaining collections and data, and (2) Adhering to established quality assurance and quality control programs; following Department of Commerce records retention policies, and complying with Federal law and agreements related to use, security, and release of confidential and proprietary data. Consistent with this approach, NOAA has established a Data Management Policy, which provides that environmental data will be visible, accessible, and independently understandable to users, except where limited by law, regulation, policy (such as those applicable to personally identifiable information or protected critical infrastructure information or proprietary trade information) or by security requirements. The policy applies to all NOAA environmental and geospatial data and to the personnel and organizations that manage these data, including Line Offices, Program Managers, NOAA National Data Centers, and Centers of Data. More details are available at: www.corporateservices.noaa.gov/~ames/NAOs/Chap_212/naos_212_15.html. According to Chapter 9 of the Updated Department of Commerce Grants Manual (available at http://oam.eas.commerce.gov/gmd_updated-doc.html), unsatisfactory performance under prior Federal awards may result in an application not being considered for funding if a determination of "nonresponsibility" is made by the Grants Officer, based on recommendation of an appropriate program official.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the agencies maximize opportunities to make data available in a manner useful to other researchers, the Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, the NASA Administrator, the NOAA Administrator, and the NSF Director should consider using the grant review process, where their program offices are not currently doing so, to facilitate further data sharing by (1) evaluating researchers' data-sharing plans as part of the grant review process and (2) using evidence of researchers' past data-sharing practices to make future award decisions. The use of such criteria in the grant review process should be clearly conveyed to researchers before they submit research proposals and after award decisions have been made.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  11. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NSF's Award and Administration Guide contains the agency's current policy on Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results. The overarching expectation is that NSF grantees will share their data with other scientists and will submit their findings for publication. The specific policy may be found at: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf10_1/aag_6.jsp#VID4. According to the NSF guidance, proposals for NSF grants submitted or due on or after January 18, 2011 must include a supplementary data management plan describing how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results and may include: the types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project; the standards to be used for data and metadata format and content (where existing standards are absent or deemed inadequate, this should be documented along with any proposed solutions or remedies); policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements; policies and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the production of derivatives; and plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them. A valid Data Management Plan may include only the statement that no detailed plan is needed, as long as the statement is accompanied by a clear justification. See http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf11001/gpg_2.jsp#dmp for more information about this policy.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the agencies maximize opportunities to make data available in a manner useful to other researchers, the Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, the NASA Administrator, the NOAA Administrator, and the NSF Director should consider using the grant review process, where their program offices are not currently doing so, to facilitate further data sharing by (1) evaluating researchers' data-sharing plans as part of the grant review process and (2) using evidence of researchers' past data-sharing practices to make future award decisions. The use of such criteria in the grant review process should be clearly conveyed to researchers before they submit research proposals and after award decisions have been made.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

  12. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In written response to GAO-07-1172, DOE stated "In solicitations of grant applications for climate change research, DOE will require applicants to describe their data sharing plans and will evaluate applicants' data-sharing plans as part of the grant review process, as relevant. DOE will also consider applicants' past data-sharing practices, as relevant, in making future funding decisions." In addition, according to the December 13, 2010 directive DOE O 241.1B Scientific and Technical Information Management, all contracts managed by the Department of Energy are to include a Contractor Requirement Document stating that each contractor is required to manage scientific and technical information (STI) produced under the contract as a direct and integral part of the work and ensure its broad availability to all customer segments by making STI available to DOE's central STI coordinating office, the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI). DOE reporting requirements for DOE financial assistance recipients are specified as scientific/technical reporting deliverables on the Federal Assistance Reporting Checklist (DOE F 4600.2). According to DOE, The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP) collaboration across the DOE complex works to ensure that the results of DOE-funded research and development (R&D) and other science and technology activities are identified, disseminated, and preserved. STIP members, led by the DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), work together to increase the availability and transparency of various types of STI, using best practices, tools, references, and standard operating procedures. See http://www.osti.gov/stip/ for more specific information. According to DOE's Office of Science Grant Application Guide, for renewal applications, the Office of Science also shall consider the recipient's performance under the existing award. Also, the Office of Science shall consider, as part of the evaluation, other available advice or information as well as program policy factors such as ensuring an appropriate balance among the program areas.

    Recommendation: To ensure that the agencies maximize opportunities to make data available in a manner useful to other researchers, the Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, the NASA Administrator, the NOAA Administrator, and the NSF Director should consider using the grant review process, where their program offices are not currently doing so, to facilitate further data sharing by (1) evaluating researchers' data-sharing plans as part of the grant review process and (2) using evidence of researchers' past data-sharing practices to make future award decisions. The use of such criteria in the grant review process should be clearly conveyed to researchers before they submit research proposals and after award decisions have been made.

    Agency Affected: National Science Foundation

  13. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NSF's Award and Administration Guide contains the agency's current policy on Dissemination and Sharing of Research Results. The overarching expectation is that NSF grantees will share their data with other scientists and will submit their findings for publication. According to NSF guidance, proposals for NSF grants submitted or due on or after January 18, 2011 must include a supplementary data management plan describing how the proposal will conform to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results (see http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf11001/aag_6.jsp#VID4) and may include plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them. Different NSF Directorates provide guidance on archiving. According to NSF, what constitutes reasonable archiving and accessibility for a particular project will be determined by the community of interest through the process of peer review and program management. See http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/policydocs/pappguide/nsf11001/gpg_2.jsp#dmp for more information about this policy.

    Recommendation: To ensure that researchers make climate change data available to other researchers, the Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, the NASA Administrator, the NOAA Administrator, and the NSF Director should evaluate whether additional strategies are warranted to facilitate the permanent archiving of relevant data, which may include: leveraging existing resources; devoting a greater portion of data collection funds to archiving activities; or working with existing entities such as the National Science and Technology Council's Interagency Working Group on Digital Data, to develop additional data archives.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  14. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to its June 2011 Open Government Plan, the Department of Commerce intends to create a searchable archive of FOIA responses. This will not only make it easier for the public to find out more about how the Department has responded to requests, but also reduce the staff time associated with answering duplicative requests. Additionally, in the past, records were typically posted to the e-FOIA Reading Room after a minimum of three requests had been received. Commerce is now posting records that relate to topics that may be of broad interest following the receipt and processing of one request. Several bureaus within commerce also noted activities related to data archives in Commerce's Open Government Plan. For example, the plan includes a project to modernize NOAA's Climate Database that describes how the preservation of an access to these data have been improved. See http://open.commerce.gov/open-government-plan for more details.

    Recommendation: To ensure that researchers make climate change data available to other researchers, the Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, the NASA Administrator, the NOAA Administrator, and the NSF Director should evaluate whether additional strategies are warranted to facilitate the permanent archiving of relevant data, which may include: leveraging existing resources; devoting a greater portion of data collection funds to archiving activities; or working with existing entities such as the National Science and Technology Council's Interagency Working Group on Digital Data, to develop additional data archives.

    Agency Affected: Department of Commerce

  15. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In a written response to GAO-07-1172, DOE stated it will request a meeting with appropriate experts from NOAA, NASA, and NSF to discuss existing data archiving strategies in the four agencies and whether additional strategies are warranted to facilitate permanent archiving of relevant global change data collected by the four agencies. DOE will also request that the U.S. Climate Change Science Program Principals evaluate whether additional strategies are warranted to facilitate permanent archiving of relevant data, since this could also involve data archiving strategies across all CCSP agencies, including DOE, NOAA, NSF, and NASA. According to its Open Government Plan, the Department of Energy has established a Work Group to identify and develop high-value datasets. The Work Group is charged with maintaining inventories of high-value datasets currently available, including databases of patents resulting from research sponsored by DOE and summaries of energy-related projects performed since 1995 by DOE laboratories and other research facilities. Information on Department of Energy grants is available through grants.gov. Also, according to DOE's July 1, 2008 standard research terms and conditions, scientific/technical reports submitted under awards will be disseminated on the Internet via the DOE Information Bridge (www.osti.gov/bridge), unless the report contains patentable material or protected data. Citations for journal articles produced under the award will appear on the DOE Energy Citations Database (www.osti.gov/energycitations). Other data are identified, disseminated, and preserved through DOE's Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP). See http://www.osti.gov/stip/ for more specific information.

    Recommendation: To ensure that researchers make climate change data available to other researchers, the Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, the NASA Administrator, the NOAA Administrator, and the NSF Director should evaluate whether additional strategies are warranted to facilitate the permanent archiving of relevant data, which may include: leveraging existing resources; devoting a greater portion of data collection funds to archiving activities; or working with existing entities such as the National Science and Technology Council's Interagency Working Group on Digital Data, to develop additional data archives.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  16. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NASA implemented this recommendation by evaluating whether additional strategies were warranted to facilitate the permanent archiving of relevant data in several ways. Through its Earth science program, NASA is systematically evaluating the demand for data products by the science community and users, and developing methodologies for data archival and distribution of service to the science community and the Nation; they currently believe their current and projected capacity for data archiving and distribution is sufficient for the foreseeable future. NASA's EOSDIS Distributed Active Archive Center User Working Group evaluates the demand for NASA Earth Science data products, analyzes individual data collections and provides guidance on the best methodologies for archival and distribution for these collections. In addition, EOSDIS Elements Evolution implementation, which was completed in 2008, examined end-to-end data system efficiency and operability and other items to enhance interdisciplinary studies of the global integrated Earth system, allowing research investigations to link data from multiple satellites and develop new tools to improve access, use and interoperability of satellite data.

    Recommendation: To ensure that researchers make climate change data available to other researchers, the Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, the NASA Administrator, the NOAA Administrator, and the NSF Director should evaluate whether additional strategies are warranted to facilitate the permanent archiving of relevant data, which may include: leveraging existing resources; devoting a greater portion of data collection funds to archiving activities; or working with existing entities such as the National Science and Technology Council's Interagency Working Group on Digital Data, to develop additional data archives.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  17. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NOAA's Environmental Data Management Committee developed procedures for scientific records appraisal and archive approval for data managers and data users and producers in September and August 2008, respectively. These guides address data archiving processes in NOAA. See http://nosc.ngdc.noaa.gov/docs/products.html for additional details.

    Recommendation: To ensure that researchers make climate change data available to other researchers, the Secretaries of Commerce and Energy, the NASA Administrator, the NOAA Administrator, and the NSF Director should evaluate whether additional strategies are warranted to facilitate the permanent archiving of relevant data, which may include: leveraging existing resources; devoting a greater portion of data collection funds to archiving activities; or working with existing entities such as the National Science and Technology Council's Interagency Working Group on Digital Data, to develop additional data archives.

    Agency Affected: National Science Foundation

 

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