Following the end of World War II, there was a rapid increase throughout the developed world in the number of scientists carrying out research. At the same time, new automated instrumentation made it possible to perform physical measurements much more efficiently. These two factors led to an exponential expansion in the amount of data published in the scientific literature and compiled in handbooks and repositories.
By the early 1960s, a number of scientific leaders began to realize that this deluge of data was swamping the traditional publication and retrieval mechanisms, and that there was a danger that much of it would be lost to future generations. When several of these leaders got together and agreed that an organized international effort was needed to improve the management and preservation of scientific data and to facilitate coordination among interested groups throughout the world, the creation of CODATA was the outcome.
The Committee on Data (CODATA), previously known as the Committee on Data for Science and Technology, was set up by the 11th General Assembly of the International Council for Science (ICSU), our predecessor organization, held in Bombay, January 1966. The Committee held its first meeting in Paris in June 1966.
CODATA is concerned with all types of quantitative data resulting from experimental measurements or observations in the physical, biological, geological and astronomical sciences. Particular emphasis is given to data management problems common to different scientific disciplines and to data used outside the field in which they were generated.
The general objectives are the improvement of the quality and accessibility of data, as well as the methods by which data are acquired, managed and analysed; the facilitation of international cooperation among those collecting, organizing and using data; and the promotion of an increased awareness in the scientific and technical community of the importance of these activities.
⭐ The ISC and CODATA
CODATA is the Committee on Data of the International Science Council (ISC). CODATA exists to promote global collaboration to advance Open Science and to improve the availability and usability of data for all areas of research. CODATA supports the principle that data produced by research and susceptible to be used for research should be as open as possible and as closed as necessary.
CODATA works also to advance the interoperability and the usability of such data: research data should be FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). By promoting the policy, technological and cultural changes that are essential to promote Open Science, CODATA helps advance ISC’s vision and mission of advancing science as a global public good.
The ISC also hosts CODATA and is in charge of reviewing the organization, defining review terms of reference, appointing review panel members, funding and science officers.