Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

A commons for polar data

The Polar Information Commons: A Framework for Long-term Stewardship of Polar Data and Information, press release, February 23, 2009.

... CODATA, the Committee on Data for Science and Technology, is starting a new initiative to establish a Polar Information Commons (PIC), to further the process of ensuring long-term stewardship of and access to polar data and information coming out of the IPY.

This project: The Polar Information Commons (PIC): Establishing the Framework for Long-term Stewardship of Polar Data and Information, aims to establish a sustainable long-term framework for the preservation and access of polar data, building on recent “commons” approaches developed in other scientific fields and entraining new stakeholders and participants into polar data management.

Experiences in other scientific communities, such as the biodiversity/conservation and neuroscience communities, has shown that a “commons” approach will strengthen incentives for scientists, research institutions, nations, and other groups to contribute and document data, reduce barriers to data sharing, and provide a focal point for community efforts to fill in data gaps, improve data quality, and promote data access and usability.

CODATA looks forward to working with its supporting partners, the International Arctic Science Council (IASC); the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR); the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG); the World Meteorological Organization (WMO); the IPY International Program Office (IPY IPO); the World Data System Transition Team and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences and many stakeholders in the development of this project and it thanks ICSU, the International Council for Science, for its support in the launch of the activity.

See also our past posts on CODATA.

Update. See also this interview on the International Polar Year:

[David Carlson:] We established in IPY a free and open data access policy. It wasn't something we spun out of clear air, we have experience in other big programmes, especially in the climate community, of what a free and open access policy means. It means rapid sharing of data, more collaborations, more publications, better science. But even though everyone in this broad community of IPY checked the box saying "yes I agree to this policy", actually making it happen is very hard. It’s a technical problem and it’s also a behavioural problem. I send it out every month at the top of my monthly messages – "register your data".

The other message for polar researchers is that we’ve shown in IPY that we can make our science open and accessible to the public as we do it, not just when we're done and we're ready to file a report with a summary for policymakers. As we do the science, we can show our adventures, our excitement, our challenges, our failures. Because we're in the polar regions and people are interested in that, we can engage people in the process of doing our science through blogs and podcasts and YouTube and experiential learning and expeditions and all the hundreds of things that have gone on through IPY. ...