Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, December 14, 2008

OA to geodata in the "system of systems"

The Group on Earth Observations is leading the development of a Global Earth Observation System of Systems.

... This ‘system of systems’ will proactively link together existing and planned observing systems around the world and support the development of new systems where gaps currently exist. It will promote common technical standards so that data from the thousands of different instruments can be combined into coherent data sets. The ‘GEOPortal’ [pilot launched in June 2008] offers a single Internet access point for users seeking data, imagery and analytical software packages relevant to all parts of the globe. It connects users to existing data bases and portals and provides reliable, up-to-date and user friendly information – vital for the work of decision makers, planners and emergency managers. ...

Data sharing is part of the plan for GEOSS. The 10-Year Implementation Plan, approved in 2005, lays out these principles:

... The societal benefits of Earth observations cannot be achieved without data sharing.

The following are GEOSS data sharing principles:

  • There will be full and open exchange of data, metadata, and products shared within GEOSS, recognizing relevant international instruments and national policies and legislation.
  • All shared data, metadata, and products will be made available with minimum time delay and at minimum cost.
  • All shared data, metadata, and products free of charge or no more than cost of reproduction will be encouraged for research and education. ...

The drafting process is ongoing, with the most recent draft white paper and implementation guidelines on data sharing released in September 2008.

Comment. As noted, these guidelines are still being drafted. The proposed schedule has the guidelines presented for approval in 2010. The guidelines seem to recognize the value and urgency of removing barriers to access and re-use, but stop short of requiring OA. Maybe it's possible to strengthen the guidelines while they're still being written.

See also our previous post on a paper about GEOSS.