Apparently ESA is feeling pressure to make a better public spectacle from Rosetta and other space missions. The conventional policy embargoes the data for six months or more, allowing the scientists who created the data to analyze and publish it before releasing to the general public.
Earlier I posted an explanation of the policy, and also what the scientists will be doing, and why the embargo makes sense.
Naturally, the public and funding agencies would like all the data released immediately. Poof. Just like in the movies. And nowadays, Google et al. would like all the data immediately (for free), so they can exploit it (for profit).
The BBC reports that Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s director general, would like to try to release more data sooner.
Based on experience with Rosetta, where the media and the Internet have had to be content with relatively low resolution images, even as the science teams have much, much better imagery in process.
I’m sure that there is room for some changes here. Usually, there is a LOT of data, and not much reason for PIs to sit on data they aren’t using. Also, there isn’t any reason why selected “early snapshots” can’t be released to the media, providing that the funders are willing to pay for that activity. (Science teams are funded to do science, not special effects.)
I’m also sure this will need careful thought, because the proprietary access is one of the prime motivations for science teams to participate in decade long projects. When you dedicate many years work without results, you hope to get first crack at the big discoveries. Removing that opportunity may make it difficult to hold together teams for long projects.