Ensuring the integrity, accessibility, and stewardship of research data in the digital age

TitleEnsuring the integrity, accessibility, and stewardship of research data in the digital age
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
Corporate AuthorsNational Academy of Sciences
Date Published2009///
ISBN Number1095-9203
Keywordsgap_evidence, gap_relationships, sg_data_archiving, sg_data_definition, sg_data_policy, sg_data_responsibility, sg_data_sharing, sg_ps

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.


Gap Area Study Type:

High-level Gap Areas:

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, prepublication 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 do 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.