Myron Gutmann to Speak on Data Access

April 27, 2011

IATH, SHANTI, the Scholars' Lab, and the College of Arts & Sciences' Qualitative Collaborative are co-sponsoring a visit by Myron Gutmann, Assistant Director at the National Science Foundation and head of the NSF's Social, Behavioral and Economics Directorate. The Library of Congress named him a Digital Preservation Pioneer for his work at Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan, preserving and providing access to a large archive of social sciences data. He is also a Professor of History at University of Michigan, studying interdisciplinary historical population studies and population-environment relationships.

Dr. Gutmann will speak on "Data Access for Research and Teaching in the Twenty-First Century" on May 6 in Monroe 120 at 4pm. He will be the concluding speaker in the UVa Digital Humanities Speaker Series for 2010-2011. The event is open to the public and a reception will follow.

Abstract: 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.