Interesting New Report from RDA Europe

blog arrowPosted on: Jan 19, 2015

In 2010, the High Level Group on Scientific Data presented a report to the European Commission “Riding the Wave” which was widely read around the world and influenced directions on data management well beyond Europe. A follow-up report was presented to the European Commission on December 11th, 2014, by John Wood, Chair of the original team that produced “Riding the Wave” and now Chair of Research Data Alliance – Europe and co-Chair of the Global RDA Foundation. The report, “The Data Harvest: How sharing research data can yield knowledge, jobs and growth” is an important read for all concerned with the management and preservation of research data and presents an effective case to policy makers and politicians:

Why should we care (about the development of a global data commons)? Because just as the World Wide Web has transformed our lives and economies, so this new data wave will matter eventually to every one of us, scientist or not. In the first instance, developing the tools, systems and businesses required for this will create jobs, revenues and economic growth; the cost – growing over time to something on the order of 5 per cent of research budgets – is large but, if the market incentives are set correctly, will be shared between the private and public sector. Already economists have shown how scientific investments of a narrower scope have yielded great returns: For instance, in the US, one-study estimated the $13 billion in government spending on the Human Genome project and its successors, has yielded a total benefit of about $1 trillion. A British study of its public economic and social research database found that for every £1 invested by the government an economic return of £5.40 resulted. Even bigger numbers have been circulating about the impact of Big Data, a related trend. However it is measured, the economic and social benefits will be large.

The report makes 7 recommendations:

  1. DO require a data plan, and show it is being implemented.
  2. DO promote data literacy across society from researcher to citizen.
  3. DO develop incentives and grants for data sharing….
  4. DO develop tools and policies to build trust and data-sharing
  5. DO support international collaboration.
  6. DON’T regulate what we don’t yet understand.
  7. DON’T stop what has begun well.

The complete report is available here.