The U.S. National Committee for CODATA (USNC/CODATA) is a standing committee organized under the National Research Council. The Council is the principal advisory body to the federal government on scientific and technical matters. The USNC/CODATA serves as a bridge between the scientific and technical community in the United States and the international CODATA regarding data issues in the natural sciences.
Consistent with the objectives of CODATA and the role of the National Research Council, the USNC/CODATA has established a subcommittee to undertake an interdisciplinary study of international access to scientific data. The primary focus is on data in electronic forms, a topic of increasing complexity and importance in scientific research and international collaboration. The study is outlining the needs for data in the major research areas of current scientific interest that fall within the scope of CODATA. The legal, economic, policy, and technical factors and trends that have an influence--whether favorable or negative--on access to data by the scientific community are being characterized. The study also is identifying and analyzing the barriers to international access to scientific data that may be expected to have the most adverse impact in discipline areas within CODATA's purview, with emphasis on factors common to all the disciplines. Finally, the study will recommend to the federal government approaches that could help overcome barriers to access in the international context. The study's sponsoring agencies include the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Library of Medicine, and the Defense Technical Information Center.
The paper will review the background of the study, its methodology, and some preliminary findings, and will solicit input on key issues from INET'95 conference participants.