I recently discovered the (at least partial) root of some of the excellent activity in the area of research data management in the UK: the UK government's Science & innovation investment framework 2004-2014. Of particular interest:
2.23 The growing UK research base must have ready and efficient access to information of all kinds – such as experimental data sets, journals, theses, conference proceedings and patents. This is the life blood of research and innovation [emphasis added]. Much of this type of information is now, and increasingly, in digital form. This is excellent for rapid access but presents a number of potential risks and challenges. For example, the digital information from the last 15 years is in various formats (versions of software and storage media) that are already obsolete or risk being so in the future. Digital information is also often transient in nature, especially when published formally or informally on websites; unless it is collected and archived it will disappear.4 There are other challenges too, navigating vast online data/information resources determining the providence and quality of the information, and wider issues of security and access.
2.24 It is clear that the research community needs access to information mechanisms which:
- systematically collect, preserve and make available digital information;
- are easily navigable;
- are quality assured;
- tie into international efforts (e.g. to ensure compatibility); and
- take on board the current
2.25 The Government will therefore work with interested funders and stakeholders to consider the national e-infrastructure (hardware, networks, communications technology) necessary to deliver an effective system. These funders and stakeholders include the British Library, which plays an important role in supporting scientific research and potential, including providing benefits to smaller businesses in the UK through access to science, engineering and technology information sources. Due to the potential importance of a national e-infrastructure to the needs of the research baseand its supporting infrastructure in meeting the Government’s broader science and innovation goals, as a first step OST will take a lead in taking forward discussion and development of proposals for action and funding, drawing in other funders and stakeholders as necessary.