DataONE: addressing the grand challenges in biology and the environmental data sciences

The DataONE is a community driven project creating the software and data accessibility to meet the needs of a community of users. The DataONE cyberinfrastucture provides open, persistent, robust and secure permanent access to well-described and easily discovered earth observational data distributed across multiple member repositories globally.

“Using DataONE has expanded our knowledge of other scientists and their research. DataONE leverages our ability to do research. We could not do our work [nearly as effectively] without DataONE”, - said Michael Frame, a USGS computer engineer and a member of a DataONE working group.

Formally known as the Data Observation Network for Earth, DataONE data project started in 2009 by the National Science Foundation (NSF), with a five-year NSF grant focused on data as the basis of science.

Until today, DataONE cyberinfrastucture has been used for demonstration projects, and has connected researchers and other users (managing their data at a computer through a server) with databases of other scientific institutions, to support data-intensive (or rather Big Data-centered) earth and environmental sciences.  

DataONE preceded the Big Data Initiative launched by President Barack Obama on March 29, 2012 as a coordinated effort by the U.S. government to address the challenges and seize the opportunities afforded by Big Data. 

To date,  a community-driven DataONE organization, the DataONE Working Groups and the DataONE Users Group are providing the opportunity for funders, users, developers, educators and other stakeholders to gather and contribute to DataONE their products and services.

       #  Join the DataONE Users Group

The DataONE initiative has released technology (see: DataONE Software Tools database) capable of providing researchers access to multi-scale, multi-discipline and international big science data from a single point of access.  Research enabled by this widespread access to data will range from studies that illuminate fundamental environmental processes to identifying environmental issues (climate, resource depletion and sustainability), allowing new interdisciplinary  scientific discoveries and providing potential solutions.

DataONE Search allows users to search by keyword, and refine by filters including: data attribute, member node, creator, year, identifier, taxa, location and whether a complete data package including both metadata and data are available for download. 

       #   You can search DataONE for data from the homepage or via ONEMercury here.

DataONE not only enables scientists around the world to easily discover data wherever the data reside but also to make their own data available for innovations over the long term. DataONE practical  tools and training materials facilitate researchers in fulfilling their need for data management (see: Data Management Planning) covering all aspects of the Data Life Cycle - from data collection to management, including analysis, publication, secure and permanent access to data.

DataONE version 2.0 user profiles allow researchers to access detailed metrics on their uploaded data, including records of the profile owners' data contributions and information on total number of data and metadata downloads by other DataONE users. Now users are able sign into their data profile through ORCID, Google and university affiliations.

Participation in the DataONE network provides its members with a great opportunity to extend the impact of their data holdings. A number of organizations (government agencies, academic members, data centers), research networks are joining the DataONE on a regular basis. DataONE explicitly bridges these worlds and provides a global infrastructure to serve science for many decades to come.

The DataONE members can expose their data within the DataONE network through the implementation of the DataONE Member Node service interface. 

       # How to become a dataOne Member Node

       # Member Node Requirements

Access DataONE materials and resources to support learning in good data management practices:


Screencast Tutorials

Short (~1min) "how-to" video tutorials detailing individual steps for various DataONE tools and services


Training Events

Details of previous and upcoming training activities held by DataONE


Data Management Modules

Education modules in power-point format licensed as CC0 available to download and incorporate into your teaching materials


DataONE Webinar Series

A monthly webinar series comprising relevant and cutting-edge topics such as open science, the role of the Data Life Cycle, and achieving innovative science through shared data and ground-breaking tools.


Best Practices

A comprehensive, searchable database of best practices for data management and use across the whole Data Life Cycle


Librarian Outreach Kit

A Librarian Outreach Kit with information and resources of value to institutional librarians


Data Stories

Short real-life vignettes highlighting challenges and successes in data management


Developer Resources

Links to information and resources for developers wishing to engage with the DataONE infrastructure


Investigator Toolkit

A collection of software tools for finding, using, and contributing data in DataONE


If you use information from the DataONE website in published or unpublished work, please include attribution for the resources you use.


DataONE Tutorial on Data Citation:
Tutorials on Data Management: Data Citation. DataONE. Retrieved June 12, 2012. From



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