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NYT – Activists Rush to Save Government Science Data

Follow up to previous postings – Why is federal government data disappearing? and Please support DataRescue and other open access archive efforts, the New York Times highlights efforts by proactive teams that include librarians, advocacy groups, grad students, coders, archivists and scientists – Activists Rush to Save Government Science Data — If They Can Find It – “…It is illegal to destroy government data, but agencies can make it more difficult to find by revising websites and creating other barriers to the underlying information.Already there have been a handful of changes to the websites of federal science agencies, according to the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, a new organization with researchers monitoring the content. On the E.P.A.’s website, for instance, the science and technology office had described as its mission the development of “scientific and technological foundations to achieve clean water.” Now the office says the goal is to develop “economically and technologically achievable performance standards.” Pie charts on a Department of Energy website illustrating the link between coal and greenhouse gas emissions also have disappeared. So has the description on an Interior Department page of the potential environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing on federal land. Changes like these appear only to reflect the publicly stated priorities of the new administration and there have been few signs as yet that federal databases are being systematically manipulated or restricted…”

“At the moment, more people than ever are aware of the risk of relying solely on the government to preserve its own information,’’ two government document librarians, James A. Jacobs, of the University of California, San Diego, and James R. Jacobs of Stanford University, wrote in an essay circulated online last week. “This was not true even six months ago.”

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