Introduction to ICSU World Data System
- Enable universal and equitable access to quality-assured scientific data, data services, products and information
- Ensure long term data stewardship
- Foster compliance to agreed-upon data standards and conventions
- Provide mechanisms to facilitate and improve access to data and data products
The ICSU World Data System (WDS) was created by the 29th General Assembly of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and builds on the 50-year legacy of the former ICSU World Data Centres (WDCs) and former Federation of Astronomical and Geophysical data-analysis Services (FAGS).
WDS strives to form a worldwide ‘community of excellence’ for multidisciplinary scientific data, which ensures the long-term stewardship and provision of quality-assessed data and data services to the international science community and other stakeholders. Its concept aims at a transition from existing stand-alone components and services to a common globally interoperable distributed data system, with searchable common data directories and catalogues that incorporates emerging technologies and new scientific data activities. Disciplinary and multidisciplinary data networks within WDS will play a key role in moving this concept forward.
The WDS will build on the potential offered by advanced interconnections between its data management components for disciplinary and multidisciplinary scientific data applications. WDS applications are already being investigated and tested, including data publication schemes and a WDS online portal considered as a proof of concept for an element of the new system. Working groups addressing these WDS applications are being currently formed.
Membership has been growing steadily, starting with a first group of certified Members from the former WDCs and FAGS, as well as several new organizations. New applications are also evaluated regularly by the WDS Scientific Committee on criteria such as access to high quality data, data stewardship, and participation in broad harmonization and interoperability efforts. Membership has a broad disciplinary and geographic base and establishment of nodes in emerging countries will be encouraged.
The Strategic Committee on Information and Data of ICSU (SCID Report 2008) highlighted the importance of working closely with ICSU’s Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), and developing strategic collaboration on issues of common interest.