UK at risk from poor online science infrasturture

The UK must develop a national e-infrastructure to support scientific research and innovation if it is not to lag behind worldwide technological developments, a group of top researchers has warned.

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The UK must develop a national e-infrastructure to support scientific research and innovation if it is not to lag behind worldwide technological developments, a group of top researchers has warned.

A report from the e-infrastructure working group of the Office of Science and Innovation – part of the Department of Trade and Industry – calls for greater investment and a more strategic approach to e-infrastructure to meet the needs of UK researchers.

Elements of a UK e-infrastructure have grown over the years, but the report warns: “With rapid advancements in technology and the increasing dependence of the research community on data-intensive forms of research, such a position is not sustainable without a step-change in national provision and concerted action towards e-infrastructure development.”

The infrastructure needs the means to produce, manage and preserve vast amounts of data, sophisticated ways to access electronic resources, technologies to support dynamic research communities and “unprecedented network, grid and computational capacity”, the report says.

“We believe that these and other requirements presuppose not only a high level of integration and coordination, but also, in key areas, intervention at the policy level,” it says.

The working group is made up of senior academics from the Joint Information Systems Committee, the research councils, the Research Information Network and the British Library.

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