Policy ForumInformation Science

Standards and Infrastructure for Innovation Data Exchange

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Science  12 Oct 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6104, pp. 196-197
DOI: 10.1126/science.1221840

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Economic growth relies in part on efficient advancement and application of research and development (R&D) knowledge. This requires access to data about science—in particular, R&D inputs and outputs such as grants, patents, publications, and data sets, to support an understanding of how R&D information is produced and what affects its availability. But there is a cacophony of R&D-related data across countries, disciplines, data providers, and sectors. Burdened with data that are inconsistently specified, researchers and policy-makers have few incentives or mechanisms to share or interlink cleaned data sets. Access to these data is limited by a patchwork of laws, regulations, and practices that are unevenly applied and interpreted (1). A Web-based infrastructure for data sharing and analysis could help. Data exchange standards are a first step. We describe administrative and technical demands and opportunities to meet them.