The need for academic institutions to act to retain control of infrastructure, data and data analytics is here to stay. It is critical for academic leaders to acknowledge that data and its uses play a central role in the operations and the future of their institutions, and take control of how it is managed as a strategic asset.
The time to act is now. Many of the actions outlined in the Risk Mitigation section of this roadmap can be taken relatively quickly, and many institutions already have a head start on these processes in response to GDPR or other requirements. Progress can be accelerated by developing and sharing resources that can help meet common needs. There is an important role for higher education professional associations, consortia, compacts, and other community organizations that can provide platforms and channels for disseminating best practices, templates and guides. Similarly, discussions on key issues outlined in the “Strategic Choices” section are already underway on many campuses, and identifying forums to amplify and share these conversations would be both valuable and productive.
Finally, opportunities for galvanizing Community Action abound. SPARC is committed to participating in this process to the extent appropriate, and we encourage community leaders to fully engage as well. Only by working together can we successfully create research and education data infrastructure environment that is open and transparent, that allows and encourages competition, and that operates in a way that is fully aligned with our community values.