Posted on February 23, 2013.
In response to a petition filed on the White House We the People site, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on Friday released a policy memorandum (PDF) supporting free public access to the results of federally-funded research. The policy mandates that, within six months, “each Federal agency with over $100 million in annual conduct of research and development expenditures…develop a [draft] plan to support increased public access to the results of research funded by the Federal Government.” Of particular interest to librarians and other information professionals, required features of the draft agency plans include “a strategy for improving the public’s ability to locate and access digital data resulting from federally funded scientific research” and “an approach for optimizing search, archival, and dissemination features that encourages innovation in accessibility and interoperability, while ensuring long-term stewardship of the results of federally funded research.”
Meanwhile, legislation recently introduced in Congress (H.R. 708) calls on federal agencies “to develop public access policies relating to research conducted by employees of that agency or from funds administered by that agency.” The bill is commonly called the FASTR bill, short for “Fair Access to Science and Technology Research.”
Open access expert Peter Suber succinctly describes the key differences between the White House policy and the legislation–and explains why he welcomes both–in his Google+ post Second shoe drops: new White House Directive mandates OA.
While the bill may or may not pass, the directive is already in force. How will this affect your work? Let us know in the comments.
Posted in Data and statistics, Federal government, Information issues, Information policy, Legislatures, Science information
Posted on August 17, 2012.
Librarians participated online in the Six-State Virtual Government Information Conference, held 8-10 August 2012. The free conference focused on the western states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, but was open to all. Missed it? Not to worry! The recorded presentations, slides, and handouts have been archived on the Six-State Conference schedule page.
Presentation topics include local and state government resources, the Census Bureau’s American Factfinder 2, the National Geologic Map Database, and international statistics.
Big thanks to the conference organizers and presenters for all of their work and for making the archive available.
Posted in Data and statistics, Federal government, Information issues, Websites
Posted on January 30, 2012.
We have a pleasant reminder for you. Beginning 1 February 2012, Statistics Canada will offer it’s standard online data and publications for free.
Here is what the December 2011 announcement said:
OTTAWA — On February 1, 2012, self-serve standard products available on the Statistics Canada website—including CANSIM and census data products—will become free of charge.
Statistics Canada will maintain current pricing practices for products such as print publications, maps, CD-ROMs, and custom products and services.
Licensing restrictions for the use of Statistics Canada data products will be removed.
[Hat tip to Amanda of Canada]
Posted in Canada, Data and statistics, Information issues
Posted on October 2, 2011.
From the CIA website, as posted on 28 September 2011:
The World Factbook is expanding! The People category is now People and Society and includes eight new fields: Health expenditures (as percent of GDP), Physicians density (per 10,000 people), Hospital bed density (per 1,000 people), Maternal mortality rate (deaths per 100,000 live births), Drinking water source, Sanitation facility access, Children under the age of five underweight (%), and Obesity – adult prevalence rate. Additionally, there is a new field in the Economy category, Unemployment, youth ages 15-24. The new datasets focus on the health and welfare of a country’s population, and provide information relevant to a country’s internal stability.
Posted in Data and statistics, Health information, International
Posted on September 10, 2011.
Everyone (well, several people–maybe you–and some important institutions) is talking about capturing and preserving scientific data. Bill LeFurgy has a brief and informative introduction to the phenomenon in the The Signal, the blog of the National Digital Preservation Information Infrastructure and Preservation (NDIIP) program. In his post, The Library: One Place for Publications and Data, he reports that “there is now a coalescing sense among researchers and policy makers that ongoing access to data is needed to replicate scientific results and spur new learning though secondary use.” Read the full post.
Posted in Data and statistics, Digital preservation, Science information
Posted on August 22, 2011.
In their FY2012 budget proposal, the Commerce Department proposes closing the Census Bureau’s Statistical Compendia branch and terminating publication (online and in print) of the venerable Statistical Abstract of the United States produced by that branch. Other programs, such as Current Industrial Reports, are also on the block. We have blogged about the issue previously:
Proposed Census Cuts Include Statistical Abstract, 22 March 2011
Census Bureau: Consequences of Budget Cuts, 16 July 2011
SLA headquarters has blogged: SLA, AALL, and MLA Oppose Funding Cuts for the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistical Abstract Program, 11 April 2011. ALA and ARL have also come out in support of funding for the program.
Alesia McManus, a Maryland librarian, took the initiative to set up the Facebook page Save the Statistical Abstract. This caught the eye of economics columnist Robert J. Samuelson, who wrote in support: Don’t Kill America’s Databook, 21 August 2011. Soon after, both Paul Krugman (Save the Statistical Abstract) and Ezra Klein (Save the stats) voiced their support. To my knowledge, no one has asked economics professor and former Administration employee Austan Goolsbee specifically about the wisdom of such cuts, but he was quoted back in June in an interview in the Atlantic as saying, “I feel like if I were stuck on a desert island, I would rather have the Statistical Abstract of the United States than the Twilight series.”
Posted in Data and statistics, Information policy
Posted on August 14, 2011.
For the past four years, our colleagues at the ALA Government Documents Roundtable (GODORT) have been maintaining a directory of links to online U.S. state government databases. The project is called State Agency Databases Across the Fifty States. For most states, this GODORT wiki will link you to government databases on topics ranging from licensed contractors to state library networks to environmental and health data.
Each state compilation is maintained by a volunteer. GODORT lacks volunteers for some states — such as Indiana and Texas — and is trying to fill in those gaps.
Slides from librarian Daniel Cornwall’s presentation on the project earlier this year are available on SlideShare at State Databases: Mining the Deep Web. The project also has a Facebook page.
Posted in Data and statistics, Websites
Posted on August 8, 2011.
After a summer break, the the St. Louis Federal Reserve’s Liber8® Economic Information Newsletter is back. The current, August 2011, issue is titled Is a College Cap and Gown a Financial Ball and Chain? [PDF]. The August newsletter information is also presented as a web page with links to the sources.
Liber8 “includes an informative and accessible economic essay on a current economic topic, written by the research analysts of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and a selection of useful economic articles, data, and websites compiled by the librarians of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Research Library. The Newsletter is published 9 times per year, January through May and August through November.” (From the website.) Classroom editions of the newsletter add quiz questions, a teacher’s guide, and topics for further discussion.
Receive notification of new Liber8 issues via email subscription or RSS feed.
Posted in Data and statistics, Education information
Posted on July 24, 2011.
According to the Globe and Mail, “Statistics Canada will no longer collect and crunch numbers on the country’s annual marriage and divorce rates.” As reported in the news article, “The national statistical agency published its last national figures on marriage and divorce rates last week. It has been collecting divorce data since 1972 and marriage data since 1921. It pegs the cost of reinstating the collection at $250,000.”
Statistics Canada to stop tacking marriage and divorce rates, Globe and Mail, 20 July 2011
Statistics Canada to stop tracking divorce rates, Toronto Globe, Toronto Star, 20 July 2011
Posted in Canada, Data and statistics
Posted on July 16, 2011.
On Friday, 15 July 2011, the director of the U.S. Census Bureau posted on his blog an important message, The Consequences of Budget Cuts. Like other bureaus, agencies, and departments, the Census Bureau faces substantial budget cuts for Fiscal Year 2012. Census Director Robert Groves describes the extent and impact of proposed cuts on the federal statistical products we all use:
As the country continues to debate about its fiscal future, the budget spotlight this week came to focus on the Census Bureau. We began developing our Fiscal Year 2012 budget last spring. In formulating that budget, we reviewed our existing economic and demographic statistics programs and determined that we needed to terminate a number of existing programs such as the Current Industrial Reports program, the Statistical Abstract, and our foreign demographic analysis program to mention a few, in order to fund higher priority programs. …
Director Groves goes on to describe the extent of proposed cut’s to the Census Bureau budget. He concludes:
We too are taxpayers, and we greatly appreciate these are difficult fiscal times. That is why we took steps to shrink our budget and find efficiencies that would not put our major, key surveys at risk. I will be writing more here as our funding legislation works its way through Congress.
You can follow developments at http://blogs.census.gov/directorsblog/. Several previous Director’s posts describe the steps that the Census Bureau has been taking in response to expectations of significant cuts.
Previous SLA-DGI blog post: Proposed Census Cuts Include Statistical Abstract, 21 March 2011.
Facebook page (independent; not SLA-related): Save the Statistical Abstract
Posted in Data and statistics