[CITASA] How can we point/push ASA in similar directions?

Barry Wellman wellman at chass.utoronto.ca
Wed Aug 14 12:35:51 EDT 2013

How to Share Scientific Data
The New York Times (08/13/13) John Markoff

An inundation of digital scientific data has given rise to a debate over 
who should access it, how it can be stored, and who will pay to do so.  A 
recent paper published in the journal Science by Google chief Internet 
evangelist and ACM president Vint Cerf and Rensselaer Polytechnic 
Institute computer scientist Francine Berman recommended sharing the costs 
of making the data widely available.  The paper notes that managing the 
data would entail a major cultural shift within the government, corporate 
institutions, and individual researchers.  Cerf says storing and sharing 
digital information is becoming a "crucial issue" for both public and 
private institutions.  The debate could intensify next week when U.S. 
government agencies are expected to submit proposals for how they would 
"support increased public access to the results of research funded by the 
federal government."  The challenge will likely be compounded by U.S. 
Office of Science and Technology Policy director John P. Holdren's edict 
that such plans be executed using "resources within the existing agency 
budget."  The lack of new money makes addressing the cost issues 
difficult, according to the National Science Foundation's Alan Blatecky. 
Cerf and Berman suggest that private companies and corporate and academic 
labs should invest in new computer data centers and storage systems to 
prevent the loss of vital research data. 

Hackers Called Into Civic Duty
The Wall Street Journal (08/13/13) Ben Kesling

U.S. cities strapped for cash are tapping civic-minded hackers to 
inexpensively improve their online services by using city data to build 
apps for tracking diverse activities.  For example, last year Chicago 
Mayor Rahm Emanuel signed an executive order mandating the city make 
available all data not guarded by privacy statutes, and Code for America 
reports that Chicago now has almost 950 publicly accessible data sets. 
Among the hacker-developed products used by Chicago is an app that maps 
house fires and determines if the house has any residents who might 
require recovery and resettlement assistance from the local Red Cross. 
Other examples of hacker-generated civic apps is New York City's free 
Embark program, which tracks train locations in real time and plots out 
routes for subway riders, and San Francisco's free iPhone app, which lets 
people use public parks and areas by supplying parking data and class 
schedules and displaying photos of the green spaces. Hackers also are 
helping South Bend, IN, mine volumes of unstructured data to extract 
useful information, while Code for America aims to place programming 
volunteers in cities that want to put civic data to better use.  "It's a 
year-long commitment, almost like Peace Corps for geeks," says Code for 
America's Christopher Whitaker. 

   Barry Wellman

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