Scientific data in China to unveil more shining treasures under new regulations

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The State Council of China recently issued regulations on scientific data management, effective as of 17 Mar 2018. The new regulations clearly stress an obligation to open scientific data to a boarder society with supports from public funding.

The regulations define the concept of scientific data, and clarify many issues concerning data sharing, including different stakeholders’ responsibility in scientific data stewardship, rules for data collection and long-term preservation, rules for data sharing and application, together with privacy and public safety issues. Among the contents include articles on data reuse reward and punishment, which is to guarantee a smooth implementation of the new regulations. Highlights also include the establishment of data quality control systems and data filing mechanisms, as well as the emphasis of classification-based lifecycle data curation & sharing.

Prior to this, many national-level giant data programs had taken the lead in facilitating data production and reuse, such as “The National Science and Technology Infrastructure”(2001-) supported by the MOST, the “Chinese Academy of Sciences Database program”(1986-), the newly-initiated A-class strategic high-tech research program ”Big Earth Data Project” and data projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) and the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST), among others.

So far, it is the first state-level official document featuring comprehensive scientific data stewardship covering all research disciplines. The new regulations are a landmark in promoting scientific data sharing as a way to boom scientific research in China. Undoubtedly, the release of the regulations shall embark a new era for China’s research community. As one of the most productive research communities in the world, China shall play an even more vital part, both locally and globally, in promoting the findability, accessibility, interoperability as well as reusability of research data.