During the Arctic Science Summit Week held in Helsinki, Finland in April of 2014, the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks program (SAON) formed two related data management committees. While the committees were separately conceived, they have complementary mandates. The Arctic Data Committee is a merge of the former IASC Data Standing Committee and SAON Committee on Data and Information Services.

The relationship between the IDSC and SAON CDIS;

The IASC Data Standing Committee (IDSC) and the SAON Committee on Data and Information Services merged to form the Arctic Data Committee. IASA has a broad mandate to “encourage, facilitate and promote cooperation in all aspects of Arctic research in all countries engaged in Arctic research and in all areas of the Arctic region”. IASC cuts across all sciences and helps to promote science development, provides scientific advice and policy level documents, aims to maintain freedom and ethical conduct in science, and engages in long-term science visioning and planning (e.g. the International Conference on Arctic Research Planning)

SAON activities are complementary to IASC’s by focusing on the specifics of establishing a long-term Arctic-wide observing activities that provide free, open, and timely access to high-quality data. While this is complementary to the work of IASC, it is also focused on producing a specific result in the form of a sustained arctic observing system.

IASC can be seen as body that guides and facilitates the development of Arctic science, SAON is a large scale program that benefits from the work of IASC as it builds a network and related systems focused on Arctic observing in support of science. As IDSC/CDIS move forward, areas that are broader in scope (e.g. broad data policy, establishing strategies for promoting data publication and citation) and may most appropriately fall under the IDSC will be identified, while others that are more specific to Arctic observing (e.g. establishing an internationally accepted set of vocabularies for observing platforms and sensors) will fall under the purview of the CDIS. Some areas will require the attention of all committee members, such as the establishment of a metadata profile for use across the sciences and observing systems.

A priority of the first ADC meeting in November of 2014 was to further refine relationships and responsibilities of the committees.

The IASC Data Standing Committee

The International Arctic Science Committee seeks to “encourage and facilitate cooperation in all aspects of Arctic research, in all countries engaged in Arctic research, and in all areas of the Arctic region.” In 2012, IASC established a working group tasked to examine data management issues and establish a data policy for IASC. The primary outcome of this group’s work is the Statement of Principles and Practices for Arctic Data Management (April 16, 2013) the Statement. The IASC Data Standing Committee (IDSC) was formed based on a recommendation included in the Statement.

Key points from the Statement include:

  • Data exchange is central to scientific collaboration and that scientific results must be verifiable, reproducible, and recognized and therefore, data must be preserved and openly accessible
  • IASC seeks for open data to be an ethical norm of science
  • When establishing data policy, there must be a balance between the rights of investigators, the rights of indigenous peoples, and the public.
  • IASC is neither a research program nor a funding agency. It does not create data per se; rather it acts as a coordinator that facilitates international collaboration.
  • IASC Council requires that IASC data (from projects endorsed by IASC) are made available fully, freely, and openly with minimal delay.
  • There are ethically allowable restrictions.
  • Data documentation is essential to the discovery, access, and effective use of data. All IASC data must be fully documented and described in accordance with the ISO standard Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS)
  • All IASC projects must make both digital and analog data discoverable by sharing basic descriptive information of collected data through the Polar Information Commons or in an internationally recognized, standard format to an appropriate catalog or registry.
  • Fair attribution is also fundamental to an ethically open data environment. Data creators and associated institutions deserve formally recognizable credit for their scientific contributions.
  • All IASC-endorsed projects must include a data management plan that describes how the data will be ethically shared and preserved over time. Appendix A provides draft guidelines for data management plans. The IASC Executive Committee will establish an IASC Data Standing Committee with representatives from the Council and each of the Working Groups to review proposed data management plans for cross-cutting IASC projects.
  • The Data Standing Committee will continually solicit feedback from the community and review and update this document every two years.
  • Establishing a review process for data management plans is only one possible committee activity. There are an number other possibilities and priorities.

The SAON Committee on Data and Information Services

Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks, SAON, aims to establish a long-term Arctic-wide observing activities that provide free, open, and timely access to high-quality data that will realize pan-Arctic and global value-added services and provide societal benefits. For more recent updates on SAON activities and progress, please see (http://bit.ly/1qdQwhm , http://bit.ly/1laJVVY , http://bit.ly/YVWvhX).

Throughout the SAON development process, data management has been a priority issue. In 2010, a Workshop was held in conjunction with the Oslo IPY Conference (see http://bit.ly/1APFt2u). Many of the issues identified at this workshop are still relevant. Additionally, there are a number of networks, programs and projects under SAON that relate to data management (see http://bit.ly/1t8kozk). In part, the CDIS emerged from the initial goals set out under a SAON task entitled ‘A Research Coordination Network for Very Interdisciplinary Arctic Data and Information’ (http://bit.ly/1omofRK). The full task description and report from the Montreal workshop held in 2012 will provide you with additional information relevant to the CDIS.

Two high level goals have been recently confirmed by the SAON Executive.

• Facilitate free and easy access to data and information

• Provide Integration and dissemination of data and information through a SAON-led Circum-Arctic Information System (CAIS)

These statements are ambitious and general and further elaboration by the CDIS is certainly necessary. In collaboration with the IDSC, the task of the CDIS is to make progress in meeting the priorities and objectives established in the preparatory efforts cited above. Clearly, a committee has limited capacity and is not expected to build systems, at least not in the short term, however there is an expectation that the CDIS will work to establish strategies and methods for moving forward.

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