May 16, 2022

NY Times: “Activists Rush to Save Government Science Data — If They Can Find It”

An approx 1500 word article! Kudos to all involved on the coverage.

From The NY Times:

As thousands of academics, librarians, coders and science-minded citizens have gathered at what are called “data rescue” events in recent weeks — there were at least six this past weekend alone — the enormousness of extracting government data that is easily found has become apparent, as has the difficulty in tracking down the rest.

Some open-data activists refer to it as “dark data” — and they are not talking about classified information or data the government might release only if compelled by a Freedom of Information Act request.


“No one would advocate for a system where the government stores all scientific data and we just trust them to give it to us,” said Laurie Allen, a digital librarian at the University of Pennsylvania who helped found Data Refuge. “We didn’t used to have that system, yet that is the system we have landed with.”


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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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.