I am currently in Manchester attending a JISC workshop on Managing Research Data. Several JISC-funded projects are here to describe their progress so far.
On arrival, I looked through the attendee list and noted that I recognised far fewer names than normal so this is clearly a community I haven't really engaged with yet.
Yesterday, there was an interesting keynote speech from the Director of the Digital Curation Centre (DCC). However, I noted that 'Impact' was the 3rd reason for why researchers should care about data curation. I asked about the meaning of impact. In the context of the talk, impact was about whether or not the research for which the data was used got published (and had an effect on the researcher's career). The DCC focuses on transferring knowledge on curation into and around the higher education sector so this seems like an appropriate definition of impact. However, given the potential socio-economic impact of research and resultant data, not to mention the business opportunities it could create (though we don't really know where or what these are, let alone how big they might be), I can't help feeling that we need to widen the definition to stimulate greater sharing and exploitation of data. If businesses could generate wealth or increase the quality of life with this data then surely it would be easier for anyone to justify footing the bill for curation. I will follow this up with the people I have met during this workshop.
Does anyone out there have any specific case studies of money being made or saved through the exploitation of research data (specifically that data generated in a different organisation to the one exploiting it)?