ICSU-WDS : Trusted Data Services for Global Science

ICSU-World Data System (WDS) an Interdisciplinary Body of the International Council for Science (ICSU) created in 2008 - promotes universal and equitable access to quality-assessed scientific data, data services, products, and information.


In its Strategic Plan 2014–2018, ICSU envisions scientific data services as those assisting organizations in the capture, storage, curation, long-term preservation, discovery, access, retrieval, aggregation, analysis, and/or visualization of scientific data, as well as in the associated legal frameworks, to support disciplinary and multidisciplinary scientific research. 

Trust - Quality - Open Scientific Data Services - Communities of Excellence 

The mission of the WDS is to support ICSU’s vision by promoting long-term stewardship of, and universal and equitable access to, quality-assured scientific data and data services, products, and information across a range of disciplines in the natural and social sciences, and the humanities.

In particular, ICSU-WDS aims to facilitate scientific research under the ICSU umbrella by coordinating and supporting trusted scientific data services

TRUST in this context can be measured in several ways:

  • Accreditation of data providers or datasets provides a measure of the scientific expertise and technical competence of the data repository;
  • The existence of transparent metadata allows for reuse of datasets and the quality of the data is measured through verification.

for the provision, use, and preservation of relevant datasets to facilitate scientific research under the ICSU umbrella, while strengthening their links with the research community.

The Core Trustworthy Data Repository Requirements are a set of universal requirements for certification of data repositories at the core level. They were announced in 2016 by the ICSU WDS and the Data Seal of Approval (DSA) - the two authoritative organizations responsible for the development and implementation of the standard.

The unified catalogue of requirements was developed through a DSA–WDS partnership Working Group within the Research Data Alliance (RDA).

  • Core certification of data repositories involves a minimally intensive process whereby repositories supply evidence that they are sustainable and trustworthy.
  • Repositories conduct a self-assessment which is then reviewed by community peers. Based on this review core certification is granted by the certification authority.
  • Certification helps data communities - producers, repositories, and consumers - to improve the quality and transparency of their processes, and to increase awareness of and compliance with established standards.

ICSU-WDS is committed to fostering compliance with agreed-upon data standards and conventions, and providing mechanisms to facilitate and improve access to data.

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. 

The Member Organizations are accredited trustworthy data services covering a broad range of disciplines and have a strong and tangible commitment to:

- - open data sharing - - data and service quality  - - data preservation - -

    all of which are increasingly considered prime requirements by science funders and are high on policymakers’ agendas since they benefit the scientific community, economy, and society in general.

    As of May 2017, the World Data System has 107 Member Organizations in four different categories. 69 Regular Members -  11 Network Members -  9  Partner Members - 18 Associate Members

    New applications for membership can be started by signing up to the WDS website and filling an Expression of InterestMORE DETAILS.

    While ICSU-WDS is committed to increasing the quality of, and trust in, the services provided by its Members, it will concentrate on the following targets:

    • Provide a certification framework for WDS Regular and Network Members:

    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:

     Accreditation of WDS Regular Members

    To be accredited as a WDS Network Member, a candidate organization is certified against the Network Member Catalogue of Criteria developed and managed by the WDS-SC:

    # Accreditation of WDS Network Members

    • Actively promote policies of full and open access to data;
    • Foster interoperable practices to facilitate data sharing;
    • Facilitate access to, and use or reuse of datasets for multidisciplinary research.

    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.

    Source: ISCU-WDS

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