Making Data Maximally Available

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Science  11 Feb 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6018, pp. 649
DOI: 10.1126/science.1203354

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Science is driven by data. New technologies have vastly increased the ease of data collection and consequently the amount of data collected, while also enabling data to be independently mined and reanalyzed by others. And society now relies on scientific data of diverse kinds; for example, in responding to disease outbreaks, managing resources, responding to climate change, and improving transportation. It is obvious that making data widely available is an essential element of scientific research. The scientific community strives to meet its basic responsibilities toward transparency, standardization, and data archiving. Yet, as pointed out in a special section of this issue (pp. 692–729), scientists are struggling with the huge amount, complexity, and variety of the data that are now being produced.