Five Swedish infrastructures, including SND, should be merged into one organisation. That is the proposal from the Swedish Research Council and the Association of Swedish Higher Education Institutions in a new report.
The reasoning behind the proposal from VR and SUHF is to provide Sweden with the conditions to develop an e-infrastructure for research that can meet future needs. It could be, for example, to be able to use the e-infrastructure resources more efficiently in order cut the lead time from research idea to publication, and to create opportunities for new research questions and methods by, for instance, making it possible to easily combine data sets and data sources in new ways. But the report also states that there are some challenges to overcome to get there:
"It is necessary to develop the digital tools in order to safeguard the quality of research and to prevent lack of access to e-infrastructures from becoming a bottleneck for large parts of the research system. At the same time, there is a need for long-term, coherent strategic considerations, and long-term, predictable financial prerequisites." (page 8, translated)
In order to meet the future demands for e-infrastructures, open research data and improved access to register data, the report proposes a merger of five organisations:
- Swedish National Data Service (SND)
- Swedish National Infrastructure for Computing (SNIC)
- Swedish University Computer Network (Sunet)
- The Swedish Research Council’s register service, RUT
- Statistics Sweden’s system for giving researchers access to microdata with personal information (MONA).
The report states three decisive reasons to create a coherent organisation (which the authors call NYe-Infra):
- A clear division of management and responsibility for research data during the entire research data lifecycle needs to be agreed on at a national level.
- Network, storage, and processing resources that fulfil the needs from research must be ensured.
- Sweden’s role in and yield from the increasing number of international collaborations has to be strengthened.
A central task for the NYe-Infra would also be to manage and administer research data containing personal information from authorities and the health sector. In order for such an endeavour to be possible, VR and SUHF suggest that the new organisation should be an authority.
The report emphasises that this is just an orientation suggestion for the future organisation of a Swedish e-infrastructure for research. In-depth analyses need to be made in a variety of areas, such as legal matters, organisation, and management. They thereby suggest that the Government set up an inquiry into this matter.
Read the report from VR and SUHF here (in Swedish only).