How to Join
The procedure for joining the World Data System is quite straightforward. There are four WDS membership categories: Regular, Network, Partner, and Associate. The first two categories are for those organizations that hold, serve, or produce data; including virtual data centres. They undergo a review for WDS Certification and are required to sign a Letter of Agreement with ICSU. The latter two are co-opted members who provide backing to WDS or support our endeavour. Partner and Associate Members must also sign an agreement with ICSU.
Becoming affiliated with WDS is an easy two stage process that is designed to minimize unnecessary work on the part of both candidates and those assessing them. To begin the process, you need only submit an online Expression of Interest (EoI) on behalf of your organization. Note that an account on the WDS website is necessary to complete this step. The EoI is a very simple, lightweight form that takes only a few minutes to fill in. During this process, you will be required to specify the WDS membership category you believe most appropriate to your organization. The suitability of the EoI—especially, regarding the membership category chosen—is then confirmed by the WDS Scientific Committee (WDS-SC).
The second stage is dependent on the membership category. Candidate Partner and Associate Members are officially invited to join ICSU-WDS by the WDS-SC, and become WDS Members upon acceptance. Candidate Regular and Network Members are required to complete a formal application in which they are asked to show evidence of satisfying a number of criteria. This application is online-based and uniquely linked to your sign-up email address. Although straightforward, as should be expected of a comprehensive accreditation process, the application is more involved than the initial EoI, and requires some effort to fill in. In particular, finalizing the application can require discussion with other data management and technical experts in your organization.
Completed applications are assessed by (at least) two reviewers selected by the WDS-SC; these might be SC members themselves or recognized external experts. Fewer than half of the submitted applications result in immediate certification, in as much as clarifications may be required, and thus necessitate a second round of reviews. Even then, the WDS-SC’s experience is that a non-negligible proportion of applications (about one-quarter) cannot meet the certification criteria. Feedback is provided to all candidates—whether they are being certified, asked for more details, or their application is being declined—and a suitable explanation given in each case.
General information on WDS can be found in the About section of its website. The Community section then gives details on WDS membership, Working Groups, and Webinars. Follow these links to learn more about WDS Goals, Constitution and Bylaws, Data Sharing Principles, and Membership.