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Why Join WDS?

International research is increasingly dependent on access to quality-assured data across multiple scientific domains, in particular to tackle the pressing challenges of sustainability and the resilient management of our planet. In unison with the concept of Open Science, it is vital that the data underlying scientific research are properly preserved and fully and openly shared to facilitate scrutiny and reuse. 

The International Science Council (ISC; formerly ICSU) established the World Data System (WDS) to address these needs and to create a common globally interoperable distributed data system that incorporates emerging technologies and multidisciplinary scientific data activities. WDS represents a worldwide ‘community of excellence’ for scientific data that ensures the long-term stewardship and provision of quality-assured data and data services to the international science community.

WDS Members Forum, New Delhi, 2014

Scientific data services1 are eligible to join WDS as Regular, Network, Partner or Associate Members. Regular and Network Members are evaluated and accredited by the WDS Scientific Committee on criteria such as access to high quality data, data stewardship, and participation in broad harmonization and interoperability efforts.

So why join the World Data System?

There main reasons for your organization to join this international and interdisciplinary ‘community of excellence’ under the auspices of ISC are:

    • Heightened profile with the imprimatur of ISC and its Members2, and worldwide exposure for your organization.
    • Increased visibility and engagement in international activities, programmes, and projects will improve your organization’s reputation and peer recognition, and will increase its user base.
    • Improved funding prospects with increased international recognition (i.e., ISC and WDS are 'good names'). If you are hosted by a larger institution, WDS membership can increase the value of your organization in the eyes of the host institution’s leadership.
    • Facilitated interactions and data exchange—which might not be possible otherwise—with other members of the international data community thanks to the nongovernmental nature of ISC.
    • Adherence to the WDS Data Sharing Principles3, which embody the spirit of Open Science, will demonstrate to your stakeholders and users your commitment to data and service quality, and long term stewardship.
    • Promoting your organization as a trustworthy scientific data service by obtaining a WDS Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repository4 which can be displayed prominently on your website. It is also included on registries of research data repositories (see: WDS-certified Members on re3data). WDS Members are recognized by the research stakeholders (funders, publishers, etc.) to have met accreditation criteria on scientific relevance, governance, data management, technical infrastructure and security, and quality-assurance.
    • Enhanced discovery of your data and an increased disciplinary and interdisciplinary user base by including your organization’s data in the WDS metadata catalogue. WDS certified data holdings and services are easily searchable, rapidly accessible, increasingly interoperable, and satisfy national and international standards.
    • Improved practices and processes by sharing information on new, emerging international data exchange and management standards, as well as activities that enhance products, services, or performance (e.g., easier sharing of data and information with other systems). WDS opens worldwide prospects for collaborations through avenues such as SciDataCon—the international conference for scrutiny and discussion of the frontier issues of data in research—the WDS Members Forum, and participation in international working groups.
    • Facilitated citation of your data with emerging data publication services as a component of scholarly publishing. Data citability has an overall positive impact on the quality and availability of scientific data and is a major incentive for data providers. WDS data publishing services will provide your organization with the tools needed to highlight their contributions to the scientific community.

Scientific data services assist 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.
2 ISC is the premier international scientific organization providing a forum for interdisciplinary research collaboration in the major areas of science. ISC has 141 Member Organizations, 39 Member Unions and Associations, and 29 Affiliated Members, thus providing a prestigious environment in which to operate.
3 The full benefits of data sharing are only realized if someone initiates the sharing process as a matter of principle. In this way WDS Members initiate a 'win-win' process that benefits not only themselves but also their partners in the scientific community and the scientific community at large. This is particularly useful in encouraging scientists who are still unused to data sharing to participate in making their data available to the international community.
4 Applications for Regular and Network membership are evaluated by the WDS Scientific Committee based on criteria such as dissemination of high quality data, data stewardship, and participation in broad harmonization and interoperability efforts.