Who are data scientists?

Here we summarize the definitions of who are data scientists from several documents on government initiatives:

  • The US National Science Board defines data scientists as “the information and computer scientists, database and software engineers and programmers, disciplinary experts, curators and expert annotators, librarians, archivists, and others, who are crucial to the successful management of a digital data collection.” [NSB 2005]
  • In a report from the US Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council, data scientists are defined as “Scientists who come from information or computer science backgrounds but learn a subject area and may become scientific data curators in disciplines and advance the art of data science. Focus on all parts of the data life cycle.” [CSNSTC 2009]
  • The Joint Information Systems Committee defines data scientists as “people who work where the research is carried out, or, in the case of data centre personnel, in close collaboration with the creators of the data and may be involved in creative inquiry and analysis, enabling others to work with digital data, and developments in data base technology.” [Swan and Brown 2008]


Note: Excerpted from “Longbing Cao. Data Science: A Comprehensive Overview



1. NSB. 2005. Long-lived Digital Data Collections: Enabling Research and Education in the 21st Century.
(2005). http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2005/nsb0540/

2. CSNSTC. 2009. Harnessing the Power of Digital Data for Science and Society. (2009). https://www.nitrd.
gov/About/Harnessing Power Web.pdf Report of the Interagency Working Group on Digital Data to the
Committee on Science of the National Science and Technology Council.

3. Alma Swan and Sheridan Brown. 2008. The Skills, Role & Career Structure of Data Scientists & Curators:
Assessment of Current Practice & Future Needs. (2008). Technical Report. University of Southampton.