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Press Release 13-043
NSF Supports U.S. Participation in the Launch of a New International Effort Aimed at Making Data Easier to Share Among Researchers

The Research Data Alliance will meet for the first time March 18-20 in Sweden

Graphic illustration showing people discussing at a table and a globe in the background

Meeting will feature leading "Big Data" experts.
Credit and Larger Version

March 18, 2013

Many of the world's leading computational scientists across multiple disciplines will gather in Sweden March 18 to March 20 for the first plenary session of the new international Research Data Alliance (RDA)--an interdisciplinary organization whose goal is to accelerate data-driven innovation through research data sharing and exchange.

Spearheaded by RDA leaders from the U.S. government, European Commission, Australian government, and data community, the RDA's three-day launch will attract scientific leaders and experts who will work to accelerate discussion about removing barriers to sharing research data and stimulating more interaction and development within the data community.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is supporting U.S. participation in the RDA as part of a $2.5 million grant to promote coordination and develop infrastructure for data sharing.

"Although the importance of sharing and exchange of data, including public access, has been emphasized by multiple reports and many science agencies around the world, the actual sharing of data across national, international, and disciplinary boundaries has been challenging to implement," said Alan Blatecky, director of NSF's Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure. "The establishment of RDA promises to break through inertia by 'just doing it'--that is, RDA supports mechanisms that enable data researchers and scientists to quickly adopt best practices and share and exchange data."

U.S. involvement is led by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Computer Science Professor Francine Berman and Professor Beth A. Plale, of the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University.

"The Research Data Alliance addresses a worldwide need for efforts that accelerate data-driven innovation," Berman said. "NSF, with U.S. and international partners, is expanding the global conversation on data-driven research. Community development of the RDA will contribute to the global infrastructure needed for new discovery and insights."

Currently, the Research Data Alliance is garnering community interest, international recognition of the importance of its goals, and a growing membership. March 18-20 will be the official launch of the organization and the first "working meeting" of the RDA. Speakers in the meeting include Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda for Europe; Farnam Jahanian, National Science Foundation head of the Computer and Information Science and Engineering Directorate; and His Excellency Duncan Lewis, Australian Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO. Attendees will also hear panel discussions and addresses on the current status of the RDA, research data challenges and opportunities around the world, and data sharing in the humanities and life sciences.

For more details, please visit: First Meeting of New Research Data Alliance March 18 in Sweden Will Feature Leading 'Big Data' Experts and Others Working To Make Research Data Easier To Share.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Lisa-Joy Zgorski, NSF, (703) 292-8311, lisajoy@nsf.gov
Mark Marchand, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, (518) 276-6098, marchm3@rpi.edu

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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