Enabling Australia’s data-driven future for science
June 24, 2022
The Australian Academy of Sciences has released a new report titled “Australia’s Data-Enabled Research Future: Science” calling for action to support the future of scientific research across the country. The report presents the results of consultations within the scientific community on data needs to ensure the continuity of scientific research in Australia.
Improving the collection, management, access and sharing of quality data is fundamental to supporting all fields of science. For example, biomedical researchers seek to analyze larger sets of genomes to detect correlations between genes, lifestyle and disease. And geoscientists could better analyze Earth systems to enable the discovery of critical mineral resources.
Research and data are fundamental to evidence-based decision making. Data enables governments to make timely and informed decisions on complex issues or respond quickly to societal challenges and crises such as pandemics and natural disasters.
Main conclusions of the report:
- There is a need for greater coordination and integration so that data is easily accessible across all research disciplines, Australian government and industry. The development of an integrated system of repositories and clear priorities in terms of strategic data is necessary.
- The development of consistent and enforceable data policies and standards to facilitate responsible data sharing and reuse is necessary.
- It is imperative to invest in people and infrastructure to manage data and make data FAIR.
- Increasing data volumes and data-intensive research activities, such as moving and analyzing large amounts of data, storing and curating data, are major challenges for scientists, industry private and government
- Developing a digitally skilled research workforce to support efficient data infrastructure and data-intensive research is an urgent national need.
The report provides important considerations for the implementation of the 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap. The findings of this report also strengthen the position of the Academy Advancing data-intensive research in Australia report launched in October 2021. It also highlights the need for more extensive research data infrastructure, policies and standards and the need to build a workforce that is better equipped to conduct data-intensive research.
The report is one of five of Australia’s learned academies – the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), the Australian Academy of Humanities (AAH), the Australian Academy of Social Sciences ( ASSA), the Australian Academy of Health Sciences and Medicine (AAHMS) – each exploring data needs to support research in their fields. A synthesis report examining common themes and interdisciplinary opportunities and needs is available here.
These reports are the result of a partnership between the Australian Research Data Commons, the five learned academies of Australia and the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) to ensure that Australia can undertake excellent research based on the data in all areas. The partnership aimed to contribute to the establishment of a more coherent data policy and a strategic data planning environment.