Cover: Enabling long-term access to scientific, technical and medical data collections

Enabling long-term access to scientific, technical and medical data collections

Published Feb 26, 2010

by Jeff Rothenberg, Stijn Hoorens

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In recent decades, online access to large, high quality data collections has led to a new, deeper level of sharing and analysis, potentially accelerating and improving the quality of scientific research. These online datasets are becoming imperative at all stages of the research process, particularly in scientific, technical and medical (STM) disciplines. Since libraries have a traditional responsibility to guarantee the availability of the output of scholarly research, they have a potentially important role to play in facilitating long-term access to these resources. Yet, the role of a national library in the realm of STM data remains unclear.

This document presents the results of a scoping study that addresses the potential role of the British Library (BL) in facilitating access to relevant datasets in the biosciences and environmental science. The aim of this study is to assist the BL in developing an appropriate strategy that would enable it to establish a role for itself in the intake, curation, archiving, and preservation of STM reference datasets, in order to provide access to these datasets for research purposes. The focus of this study is to explore a range of alternative strategies for the BL, which might be different for different types of databases or for data supporting different research fields or disciplines.

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The research described in this report was prepared for and funded by the British Library and was conducted by RAND Europe.

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