News & AnalysisEarth Observations

Congress Asks NOAA to Consider Charging for Data

Science  09 Dec 2011:
Vol. 334, Issue 6061, pp. 1337
DOI: 10.1126/science.334.6061.1337

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Summary

For decades, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been carving satellite data into customized chunks that help other federal agencies solve some unusual problems—at no cost to the users. But faced with soaring NOAA satellite costs and a bleak budget outlook, lawmakers last month ordered the agency to explore ways of charging other federal agencies—and perhaps even some large consortiums of academic scientists that partner with government agencies—for its "specialized data products." It's time, they argue, for beneficiaries to help NOAA sustain a cash-strapped satellite program. A storm is brewing over the suggestion.