The High-Level Group on Scientific Data has released Riding the Wave—How Europe Can Gain from the Rising Tide of Scientific Data.
Here's an excerpt:
A fundamental characteristic of our age is the rising tide of data — global, diverse, valuable and complex. In the realm of science, this is both an opportunity and a challenge. This report, prepared for the European Commission's Directorate-General for Information Society and Media, identifies the benefits and costs of accelerating the development of a fully functional e-infrastructure for scientific data — a system already emerging piecemeal and spontaneously across the globe, but now in need of a far-seeing, global framework. The outcome will be a vital scientific asset: flexible, reliable, efficient, cross-disciplinary and cross-border.
The benefits are broad. With a proper scientific e-infrastructure, researchers in different domains can collaborate on the same data set, finding new insights. They can share a data set easily across the globe, but also protect its integrity and ownership. They can use, re-use and combine data, increasing productivity. They can more easily solve today's Grand Challenges, such as climate change and energy supply. Indeed, they can engage in whole new forms of scientific inquiry, made possible by the unimaginable power of the e-infrastructure to find correlations, draw inferences and trade ideas and information at a scale we are only beginning to see. For society as a whole, this is beneficial. It empowers amateurs to contribute more easily to the scientific process, politicians to govern more effectively with solid evidence, and the European and global economy to expand.