World Data System (WDS)

The mission of WDS is to promote long-term stewardship of, and universal and equitable access to, quality-assured scientific data and data services, products, and information across all disciplines in the Natural and Social Sciences, and the Humanities.

WDS builds on the 60 year legacy of the WDC and FAGS established in 1957 by the International Council for Science (ICSU), our predecessor organization, to manage data generated by the International Geophysical Year (1957–1958). It became clear after the International Polar Year (2007–2008) that these bodies were not able to respond fully to modern data needs, and they were thus disbanded by the 29th ICSU General Assembly in 2008 and replaced by the World Data System in 2009.

Its aim is to facilitate scientific research by coordinating and supporting trusted scientific data services for the provision, use, and preservation of relevant datasets, while strengthening their links with the research community. It builds on the potential offered by advanced interconnections between data management components to foster disciplinary and multidisciplinary applications for the benefit of the international scientific community and other stakeholders.

WDS is developing worldwide ‘communities of excellence’ by certifying scientific data services – WDS Members – using internationally recognized standards through the CoreTrustSeal. As of 20 June 2019, WDS has 117 Member Organizations, including 76 Regular Members, 11 Network Members, 11 Partner Members and 19 Associate Members, while a number of other applications continue to be reviewed by the WDS Scientific Committee. WDS collaborates with several strategic partners, such as the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and the Committee on Data (CODATA).

⭐ The ISC and WDS

Along with the Oak Ridge Institute and the University of Victoria, Canada, the International Science Council is a co-sponsor of WDS. There are three ex-officio members within the WDS Scientific Committee, one for each of the co-sponsors, and a representative of the ISC Secretariat typically taking up the ISC position. The CEO is the official ISC representative ex-officio. WDS is governed by its Scientific Committee (the WDS-SC), which is appointed by the ISC’s Executive Board. The WDS-SC is responsible for developing and prioritizing plans for WDS and guiding their implementation

The ISC contributes to the development and approves strategy and activity plans, as well as associated budgets. The ISC also establishes and appoints international steering/advisory committees, with the possibility for ISC members to submit nominations as part of the process. The ISC is also in charge of reviewing WDS, defining review terms of reference, appointing review panel members, funding ISC representatives.

Image by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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