Initiative to establish Research Data Alliance moves forward



With the amount of scientific data being gathered growing exponentially—due to the increasing number of sensor networks, scientific instruments, computer models, and other tools—there are enormous scientific opportunities but also significant challenges, including how to effectively share research data within and across scientific communities. A 29 August symposium on global scientific data infrastructures, sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences' Board on Research Data and Information (BRDI), addressed this issue while focusing on a new initiative to establish a Research Data Alliance (RDA). The alliance already has received about $3 million in funding from two U.S. agencies—the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology—the Australian government, and the European Union to move forward with funding a handful of nongovernmental structures (NGS) to work on the initiative, according to Alan Blatecky, director of the NSF's Office of Cyberinfrastructure. The initiative—which he said would include a council, plenary, secretariat, NGSs, and working groups—is on a fast track, with the first NGS meeting planned for 2–3 October in Washington, D. C., and the first meeting of the RDA scheduled for March 2013 in Europe.