The World Data System of the International Science Council (WDS) aims to promote universal and equitable access to quality-assured scientific data, data services, products and information, with a view towards long-term data stewardship. Furthermore, WDS is committed to fostering compliance with agreed-upon data standards and conventions, and providing mechanisms to facilitate and improve access to data. As the leading international, multidisciplinary organization in the provision of Trustworthy Data Services, WDS has adopted Data Sharing Principles to advance its goals.
As part their accreditation by the WDS Scientific Committee (WDS-SC), WDS Regular and Network Members must fulfil the WDS membership requirements and undergo a transparent and objective certification procedure to ensure their trustworthiness in terms of authenticity, integrity, confidentiality, and availability of data and services. Such certification is vitally important because it promotes trust and confidence in the usability and persistence of shared data resources. It also helps data services improve their practices and procedures.
The ICSU-WDS Data Portal is a prototype allowing retrieval of datasets from participating WDS Members. As a first step, it provides access to currently available metadata catalogues using standards.
The Knowledge Network is a Web-based, interlinked repository of relationships between the actors and entities that make up our research landscape: people, institutions, projects, research disciplines and topics, funding sources, and the like. ICSU-WDS has a stated objective to establish an aggregation of WDS Members’ metadata holdings so that the extent of data and services offered are discoverable through a single interface. However, ICSU-WDS would also like to go further than this; it would also like to create a broader Knowledge Network in which additional information sources—including the WDS-IPO’s existing database of Member information—are used to supplement Members’ metadata by means of Linked Open Data repositories. Through this extension into Knowledge Networks, ICSU-WDS feels that it can significantly enhance the usefulness of its metadata resource and improve the ability of researchers, funding agencies, and data centre management to understand and apply this information.