The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently reviewed federal data-sharing policies for climate change researchers supported by the Department of Energy (DOE), National Science Foundation (NSF), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Justifying the report, GAO notes that through these four agencies the federal government spends nearly $2 billion on climate change research each year. Although some data generated from this research is stored in online archives, other data are in less accessible formats and stored with individual researchers.

As outlined in the report summary, the GAO considered: 1) the key issues that data-sharing policies should address; 2) the data-sharing requirements, policies, and practices for external climate change researchers funded by DOE, NSF, NOAA, and NASA; and, 3) the extent to which these agencies foster data-sharing.

As a result of the review, the GAO recommends that agencies explore opportunities in the grant-making process to better ensure the availability of data to other researchers and determine if additional archiving strategies are required.

The complete 61-page document is available at


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