In a memorandum released today, OSTP Director John P. Holdren directs Federal agencies to develop policies that will improve the management of and access to scientific collections that they own or support.
Scientific collections are assemblies of physical objects that are valuable for research and education—including drilling cores from the ocean floor and glaciers, seeds, space rocks, cells, mineral samples, fossils, and more. Federal agencies develop and maintain scientific collections as records of our past and investments in our future.
These collections are public assets. They play an important role in promoting public health and safety, homeland security, trade, and economic development, medical research, resource management, education, and environmental monitoring.
They are studied across diverse fields of research and are used and re-used to validate and extend past research results as new analytical techniques develop. For the American public, students, and teachers, they are also treasure troves of information ripe for exploration and learning.
And there is no better time to highlight this important new policy than Sunshine Week – an annual celebration of transparency and public participation in government.