Digital technologies and investments in cyber- and information infrastructure have fundamentally changed how science is conducted. This change was noted in the National Science Foundation’s Cyberinfrastructure Vision for 21st Century Discovery, which stated that “…converging advances in networking, software, visualization, data systems, and collaboration platforms are changing the way research and education are accomplished.” Central to this transformation is scientific data.
Recent reports such as the National Academies report, Rising above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future, reflect the pressing need to ensure an environment that is conducive to enabling the United States to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. This means that researchers, scientists, students, and members of the public must be empowered by having the full array of information resources including scientific data available to them to promote discovery and advance science, research, and education. To this end, many federal agencies are considering and/or implementing data policies.