The Australian Government's 2009‐10 Budget included an announcement of $97 million to be provided for Data Storage and Collaboration Infrastructure, funded through the Super Science Initiative and sourced from the Education Investment Fund (EIF). This infrastructure is being implemented through two separate but closely related projects:
- $47 million has been provided to support the University of Melbourne led NeCTAR Project (National eResearch Tools And Resources). The NeCTAR Project will enhance frequently used research tools, develop exemplar digitally enabled laboratories and establish virtual server and cloud infrastructure able to support the next generation of research 'apps'.
- $50 million to be devoted to the Research Data Storage Infrastructure (RDSI) Project to enhance data centre development and support retention and integration of nationally significant data assets into the national collaboration and data fabric.
The benefits from better‐managed and more accessible research data are being sought everywhere across the research sector. At the same time, the acceleration in the generation of data is outstripping growth in data storage capacities.
The RDSI Project therefore represents a timely investment that is aimed at strengthening Australia's capabilities in data intensive research and data intensive research collaboration.
In practical terms, this will be by providing significantly increased capacity for research data holdings; developing and improving associated access and data sharing capabilities; and enhancing the capability and capacity to provide research data services to the sector. The result is intended to be a data storage framework that will assist institutions and researchers to more effectively use, manage, share and preserve much larger holdings of research data.
The expected benefits are to:
- improve the availability of quality research data for sharing and re‐use and, as a result, expand the scale and scope of problems that Australian researchers may seek to address;
- improve research efficiency; and
- reduce institutional data storage costs and enable more extensive collaboration.
The infrastructure may also assist institutions to:
- sustain a quality of research in the digital age that includes the reproducibility of results;
- meet the storage requirements of key research activities undertaken at that institution; and
- comply with the research data provisions of Universities Australia's Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research.
Other related projects funded as part of the Super Science Initiative include investments in the improved management of data; a significant increase in the supply of high performance computing; enhancements to research tools and improved support for research applications; improved connectivity to the Australian Research and Education Network (AREN); and a range of developments specific to discipline or capability requirements.
The intended role of the RDSI Project within this broader set of investments is to improve holdings of research data valued by the research community. Key components of this role will be to provide governance arrangements to underpin ingest regimes, data quality and access policies and support access services required by those data collections. The implementation of the RDSI Project will also enable the provision of such broader data sharing, movement and access services as are required at a national level to support data intensive research and research collaboration that are not otherwise available.
Simultaneously, public and private cloud and infrastructure service providers are developing new approaches to data infrastructure. The outcomes of the RDSI Project would be positioned to assist the research sector pursue the economies of scale available from these new approaches.
The Research Data Storage Infrastructure (RDSI) Project, an initiative of the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), is funded from the Education Investment Fund under the Super Science (Future Industries) initiative.