Past Commission B2 Data and Documentation for 2015-2018

Parent Division: B

As an empirical science, astronomy depends critically upon observational data and its interpretation. Extracting the full scientific potential of astronomical data is a process that often occurs over the course of many years and through the combined efforts of generations of researchers. As modern astronomy has become increasingly multi-wavelength, and even multi messenger, the ability to combine data from multiple epochs and multiple instruments has also become increasingly crucial. Such long-term scientific exploitation and data synthesis is only possible through the establishment and management of well-defined and well-curated astronomical data collections. IAU Commission B2 acknowledges this central role of data in field of astronomy and focuses specifically on the manifold aspects of defining, managing, archiving, and sharing astronomical data and documentation.

With the advent of facilities such as ALMA, the JVLA, LOFAR, CTA, Pan-STARRS, JWST and the E-ELT, among others, the challenges facing large-scale astronomical data management are both real and immediate. New facilities such as the LSST and SKA will increase the scale of these data challenges by orders of magnitude and require us to confront issues of not only of data quantity but also data complexity and, perhaps more fundamentally, how scientists will need to interact with their data. At the same time the need to preserve our heritage data through digitization and other means is becoming increasingly urgent and raises other issues about data access and sharing. IAU Commission B2 is intended to serve as the community forum for supporting these myriad activities, and to be the IAU's vehicle for communication and collaboration with other international data organizations such as CODATA and the Research Data Alliance.


President

Michael W. Wise

Vice-President

Anja C. Schroeder

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