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The experimental and experiential nature of many sciences requires that researchers capture huge volumes of data for which they propose theories to explain or model the data. Simulations, queries, and data mining can generate very large derived data sets. The Internet and associated technologies (such as the Web and the Grid) have become the de facto medium for sharing raw data, analyzed information, and derived knowledge for many technical and scientific communities. Considerable research and commercial activity has focused on this area, but many unresolved issues remain. The articles in this theme section illustrate some of the work that is currently being done to help address some key challenges.