Myron Gutmann from NSF on March 15

Dr. Myron Gutmann, assistant director of the National Science Foundation, will be present a talk entitled “Data Access for Research and Teaching in the 21st Century,” in Room 126 Library and Information Science Building at 10:30 am on Thursday, March 15. Dr. Gutmann is the lead of NSF’s Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate, and is also professor of history and information and research professor in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

Data Access for Research and Teaching in the Twenty-First Century

The scientific community is facing new opportunities and new requirements in the ways that data are managed and made available for future research. The biggest change that we see is the dramatic increase in the volume of data produced by observations, experiments, and simulations, which has turned what was already a steady stream of data into a flood. That rising tide of data is being shared by research networks that span the globe, calling for new infrastructure and new architectures that will allow researchers to make use of data from around the world and engage in new long-distance collaborations. These new collaborations now mostly involve researchers, but the availability of new forms of data and the creation of new mechanisms for sharing those data make it possible to expand access in a meaningful way to students and citizen scientists. At the same time, policy makers are moving forward rapidly to require that data from publicly-financed research projects be shared with other researchers, while they simultaneously concern themselves with protecting the privacy and confidentiality of human research subjects. This presentation will discuss these changes in the data preservation and sharing environment, especially as they relate to data for the social, behavioral and economic sciences, and suggest ways that all the potential stakeholders in the process — funding agencies, universities, data archives, libraries, researchers, teachers, and students can work together in the future to get the most out of our data investments.

Gutmann has broad interests in interdisciplinary historical research, especially health, population, economy, and the environment. Since 1995 he has led a multi-site research program about population, agriculture and environmental change in the U.S. Great Plains, which has produced important research results that show how demographic and agricultural change both respond to environmental conditions and shape environmental outcomes such as greenhouse gas production. As Director of ICPSR, he was a leader in the archiving and dissemination of electronic research materials related to society, population, and health, with a special interest in the protection of respondent confidentiality.

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