The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) communicates its science and engineering (S&E) information to data users in a very fluid environment that is undergoing modernization at a pace at which data producer dissemination practices, protocols, and technologies, on one hand, and user demands and capabilities, on the other, are changing faster than the agency has been able to accommodate. NCSES asked the Committee on National Statistics and the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council to form a panel to review the NCSES communication and dissemination program that is concerned with the collection and distribution of information on science and engineering and to recommend future directions for the program.
Communicating Science and Engineering Data in the Information Age includes recommendations to improve NCSES's dissemination program and improve data user engagement. This report includes recommendations such as NCSES's transition to a dissemination framework that emphasizes database management rather than data presentation, and that NCSES analyze the results of its initial online consumer survey and refine it over time. The implementation of the report's recommendations should be undertaken within an overall framework that accords priority to the basic quality of the data and the fundamentals of dissemination, then to significant enhancements that are achievable in the short term, while laying the groundwork for other long-term improvements.