The ICSU World Data System (ICSU-WDS) is striving to build worldwide ‘communities of excellence’ for scientific data services by certifying Member Organizations—holders and providers of data, data products or services—from wide-ranging fields by using internationally recognized standards. WDS Regular and Network Members are the building blocks of a searchable common infrastructure, from which a data system that is both interoperable and distributed can be formed.
Certification of WDS Members
As part their accreditation by the WDS Scientific Committee (WDS-SC), WDS Regular and Network Members must fulfil the WDS membership requirements (see WDS Bylaws) 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.
To be accredited as a WDS Regular Member, a candidate organization is certified against the Core Trustworthy Data Repositories Requirements developed jointly with DSA and managed by the WDS–DSA Standards and Certification Board:
ICSU-WDS is structured as a federated system integrating organizations with different scopes and that often take on multiple roles. Hence, the WDS-SC accounts for the context of a candidate organization, its mission, priorities, and stated commitments in applying the evaluation criteria. Furthermore, certification should not be seen as a one-step procedure in which a candidate organization either succeeds or fails. It is instead an iterative process whereby the WDS-SC provides feedback to candidate organizations, leading to stepwise improvements and reflecting the overall development and maturity of ICSU-WDS as a whole.
Reviews of candidate WDS Members' applications are a vital part of the WDS certification procedure, since they help the WDS-SC come to an informed opinion on whether the evaluation criteria have been met. Such reviews were initially performed by members of the WDS-SC only. However, external experts have been called upon when necessary; in particular those from within WDS Regular and Network Members.
A more systematic community approach was supported by Member Representatives at the 2016 WDS Members’ Forum whereby new and reaccredited agree to conduct up to two reviewers per year. In advance of this, a number of WDS Members have volunteered their expertise prior to making a more formal commitment and are acknowledged by the WDS-SC:
If you represent a data service or a data network organization wishing to be recognized as a Trustworthy Data Repository or Trustworthy Data Network please apply for WDS membership here.