Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

The Payment Question

The scientific community is churning out massive amounts of data and, increasingly, that data is being made publicly available. The director of the US Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren, for example, called in February for federal agencies to come up with a plan to publicly share research results and data from studies funded by the government.

But, as Francine Berman from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Google's Vint Cerf ask in Science: Who is going to pay for it?

“Publicly accessible data requires a stable home and someone to pay the mortgage,” Berman tells the New York Times.

In Science, she and Cerf say that partnerships among the public, private, and academic sectors are needed to maintain such databases. "Such a division of labor can provide a framework of options that distribute the burdens and benefits of stewardship and economic support," they write.

They further outline a few broad strategies that could help such partnerships become established in the US, namely to "use public-sector investment to jumpstart" stewardship by other sectors, to "create and clarify public-sector stewardship commitments for public access to research data," and to "encourage research culture change to take advantage of what works in the private sector."