Scientific Data of Public Interest


In 1997 Academy set up a 'Panel on scientific data of public interest' to examine all issues concerning scientific data available in the country. The following statement giving the terms of reference of the panel was released.

There has been widespread concern that the enormous storehouse of scientific data is not being put to sufficient use both in scientific research as well as economic and industrial activity. The main reason appears to be problems in gaining access to these data. A panel was constituted with suitable terms of reference to study this question. Geographical data was first taken up to be followed up data on others by areas like meteorology, oceanography, and public health.

Panel On Scientific Data Of Public Interest

The Indian Academy of Sciences is undertaking a detailed study of issues connected with Scientific Data of Public Interest . The objectives of the study are:

  • To assess the position in the country regarding archives of scientific data of public interest, in particular on such issues as:
    • the availability of data in various fields
    • the quality of the data so archived , and
    • the adequacy of methods adopted for ensuring requisite standards of data quality
  • To examine the current policies governing access to such data in the light of the need to ensure informed public opinion and encourage value-addition to the acquired data through both public and private enterprise
  • To recommend such measures as may be necessary to promote the acquisition of data of public interest, the assurance of its quality, and improvement of accessibility to it, through the use of appropriate technology and adoption of suitable policies, without jeopardizing national security interests.
  • To consider all such matters that would enhance the use and value of scientific data bases of public interest in the country , and ensure use of such data bases to the greatest benefit of the public and of the national scientific effort.

The panel invites comments, suggestions, accounts of personal experience and any other material relevant to the terms of reference of the Panel. The material may be sent to either of the addresses below:

Prof. Roddam Narasimha, Chairman of the Panel
Dr Satish R. Shetye, Secretary of the Panel

A special section, 'Public access to Indian geographical data', was published in the 25 August 2000 issue of Current Science.

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