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Myron Gutmann from NSF to speak on 3/15/2012

Dr. Myron Gutmann from the NSF Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate will be speaking at 10:30 am Thursday, March 15, in Room 126 LIS, as part of the Illinois Research Data Initiative. Dr. Gutmann's talk is entitled ”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.

Myron P. Gutmann is assistant director of the National Science Foundation, where he leads NSF’s Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate. He is also professor of history and information and research professor in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. 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 Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, 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.

More on the Illinois Research Data Initiative can be found at go.illinois.edu/data


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