Google to host research datasets

The Wired Blog gives advanced notice that the domain,, will soon provide a home for terabytes of open-source scientific datasets. The storage will be free to scientists and access to the data will be free for all. The project, known as Palimpsest, missed its original launch date this week, but will debut soon. It is suggested that Palimsest will fill a major need for scientists who want to openly share their data, and will allow public access to an unprecedented amount of data. For example, two planned datasets are all 120 terabytes of Hubble Space Telescope data and the images from the 10th century manuscript the Archimedes Palimpsest.

Those with long memories (hopefully prevalent amongst digital preservationists!) will also remember the Google/ Nasa memorandum of understanding signed in September 2005 that ‘outlines plans for cooperation on a variety of areas, including large-scale data management, massively distributed computing, bio-info-nano convergence, and encouragement of the entrepreneurial space industry’ so perhaps we should expect more major announcements along these lines from Google and NASA in months to come.

3 Responses to “Google to host research datasets”

  1. Dave Berry on 27 Jan 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Do you know what the business model will be for this? What guarantee will researchers have that their data will still be available in (say) 5 years’ time?

  2. Neil on 28 Jan 2008 at 5:34 pm

    hi Dave

    there is no further information as yet but I will post an update to the Blog once Pamlimpsest is officially launched and look closely at these points and others.

    Of course when you look at the small print of deposit researchers rarely have cast iron indefinite guarantees from any service provider in either the public or commercial sector. I have a particular research interest in this area and hope to look at T&C for online archiving/access services for personal digital collections as part of the AHRC-funded Digital Lives research project (a separate blog on this in a few months time perhaps). The key points may be around rights to transfer/withdraw data should access terms cease or change significantly ie we need to be concerned most about rights, sustainability/persistence and transferability of the data collection rather than specific services for them which may change.

  3. […] was about to launch a free service for hosting research datasets as noted in our blog posting Google to host research datasets twelve months […]

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