Enabling Australia's data-driven future for science

June 24, 2022

The Australian Academy of Science has launched a new report: ‘Australia’s Data-Enabled Research Future: Science’ calling for action to support the future of scientific research across the nation. The report presents the findings from consultations within the science community on data-related needs to ensure the continuity of scientific research in Australia.

Australia’s data-enabled research future: Science report (hyperlinked) 

Improved collection, management, access and sharing of quality data are fundamental to support all areas of science. For example, biomedical researchers are seeking to analyse larger genome sets to detect correlations between genes, lifestyle, and disease. And geoscientists could better analyse Earth’s systems to enable the discovery of critical mineral resources.

Research and data are fundamental for evidence informed decision making. Data allows governments to make timely, informed decisions on complex issues or to rapidly respond to societal challenges and crises such as pandemics and natural disasters.

Key findings of the report:

  • There is a need for greater coordination and integration so that data is easily accessible across Australia’s research disciplines, government, and industry. Development of an integrated system of repositories and clear strategic data priorities are needed.
  • The development of consistent and enforceable data policies and standards to facilitate responsible sharing and reuse of data is required.
  • There is an imperative to invest in people and infrastructure to manage data and make data FAIR.
  • Expanding volumes of data and data-intensive research activities, such as moving and analysing large amounts of data, data storage and retention, are key challenges for scientists, the private sector and governments
  • Developing a digitally skilled research workforce to support effective data infrastructure and data-intensive research is an urgent national need.

The report provides important considerations for implementing the 2021 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap. The findings from this report also reinforce the Academy’s Advancing data-intensive research in Australia report launched in October 2021. It also highlights the need for greater research data infrastructure, policies, and standards and the need to build a more equipped workforce to drive data-intensive research.

The report is one of five from Australia's learned academies –  the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE), Australian Academy of the Humanities (AAH), Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA), Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS) – each exploring data-related needs to support research in their domains. A synthesis report examining the common themes and inter-disciplinary opportunities and needs is available here

These reports are the result of a partnership between the Australian Research Data Commons, Australia’s five learned academies and the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) to ensure Australia can undertake excellent data-enabled research across all fields. The partnership sought to help build a more coherent data policy and strategic data planning environment.

© 2022 Australian Academy of Science