Eighty per cent of scientific data lost in two decades: university study - InfoNews

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Eighty per cent of scientific data lost in two decades: university study

December 19, 2013 - 12:06 PM

VANCOUVER - A University of B.C. study that tracks the accessibility of data over time says it takes two decades for 80 per cent of scientific data to become irretrievable.

Researcher Tim Vines of UBC's zoology department examined 516 international zoological studies archived in the school's biodiversity centre and found that the data was inaccessible because of faulty contact information and obsolete storage devices.

He says many professors list email addresses as their preferred method of contact, but they're often outdated within a few years.

Vines says the information is lost when the contact information becomes obsolete because the professors are usually the only ones keeping their data and that storage devices such as floppy disks become out of date.

Vines says the loss of scientific data is a huge waste of research funds and that the information should be archived online to preserve it.

The study is published in the journal Current Biology.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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