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Scientists stress need to preserve digital resources

By Zhang Zhihao | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-10-21 09:06
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A visitor experiences a 5G+VR racing cockpit at the China International Digital Economy Expo 2021 in Shijiazhuang, North China's Hebei province, Sept 7, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Chinese scientific community will enhance collaboration with international peers on the long-term preservation of digital resources and research data to better serve scientific undertakings around the globe, experts said on Wednesday.

The 17th International Conference on Digital Preservation, or iPRES 2021, opened in Beijing on Wednesday and will end on Friday. More than 400 experts from 28 countries are participating in online and offline events of the world's premier academic gathering on digital preservation.

This year's meeting is being co-hosted by the National Science and Technology Library and the National Science Library of Chinese Academy of Sciences. It is the second time China has hosted the conference since its launch in 2004.

During the opening ceremony, Cheng Jinpei, an honorary chairman of iPRES2021 and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said China attaches great importance to the open sharing of scientific and technological data and resources, as evident in a series of policies and measures from 2018 to enhance the country's data sharing platforms and mechanisms.

China's National Science and Technology Resource Sharing Service Platform covers 20 national scientific data centers and 30 national germplasm and experimental materials banks, Cheng said.

These centers and banks have collected more than 2.83 million sets and items of scientific resources, including scientific data, genetic resources, and data from major scientific instruments and infrastructure.

"China's science and technology resource sharing service system is basically in place and is playing an important role in supporting the nation's innovation and socioeconomic needs," he said. "We hope to shoulder more responsibilities to jointly promote the development of the global scientific community and win-win cooperation, so as to make greater contributions to the reliable preservation of the shared intellectual wealth of mankind."

Zhang Tao, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the academy has launched digital data and research infrastructure, such as the China Science and Technology Cloud, to support China's high-quality development in scientific and technological research.

Zhang said the digital infrastructure has also laid a foundation for aiding international research and development. For example, last month, China launched the International Research Center of Big Data for Sustainable Development Goals, which uses big data and Earth observation technologies to monitor sustainable development goal indicators and support more efficient planning by scientists and policymakers.

"Digital infrastructure such as digital research facilities, cloud computing, research data, platforms for resource and services sharing, are now the backbone of scientific research," Zhang said. "I hope our colleagues can learn from each other, facilitate cooperation, and jointly promote the healthy development of data-driven scientific research."

Peng Yiqi, director of the National Science and Technology Library, said nearly 1.5 million people access scientific literature through its database every day.

"Over the past two decades, NSTL has contributed significantly to scientific information development and sharing in China," he added.

Wang Xudong, director of the Palace Museum, a national museum housed in the Forbidden City in Beijing, said the museum has adopted a "Digital Palace Museum" development framework to better preserve and present its cultural heritage in accordance with the authenticity, integrity, and availability principles of long-term digital preservation.

"We will use new technologies to catalog and manage the vast holdings of cultural and historical relics, ensuring these treasures are well-protected but also made accessible to the world," he added.

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