A report by the U.S. National Academies entitled “Ensuring the Integrity, Accessibility, and Stewardship of Research Data in the Digital Age” made this comment:
“Research data and other information integral to publicly reported results should be publicly accessible… research data and the information needed to interpret them will
be publicly accessible in a timely manner to allow verification of findings and facilitate future discoveries.”
In other words, all data that support interpretation of results in the literature should be published and made accessible to researchers. Data products from major missions are already published and curated at dedicated centers, but the same is not true of many science products created by researchers in the course of their investigations. The Data Conservancy is a project that will investigate the mechanisms to preserve these data, their attributes and their provenances. From their website: “The Data Conservancy (DC) embraces a shared vision: scientific data curation is a means to collect, organize, validate and preserve data so that scientists can find new ways to address the grand research challenges that face society. The Data Conservancy will research, design, implement, deploy and sustain data curation infrastructure for cross-disciplinary discovery with an emphasis on observational data.”
The International Science Grid This Week has an excellent introduction to the Data Conservancy and the challenges of data management its faces, entitled Rethinking scientific data management, and is well worth a read (though the author should realize data isn’t, data are).