International Council for Science - World Data Center System

Appendix D - Principles and Responsibilities

[Appendix A] [Appendix B] [Appendix C] [Appendix D] [Appendix E]



1 World Data Centers (WDCs) operate under the auspices of the International Council for Science (ICSU) for the benefit of the international scientific community and provide a mechanism for international exchange of data in all disciplines related to the Earth, its environment, and the Sun.

2 World Data Centers in the United States are designated as WDCA. Those in the Soviet Union are designated WDCB. The WDCC Centers, C1 and C2, are located in other countries. An individual WDC may treat one or several of the disciplines or programs covered in the Guide to the World Data Center System.

3 World Data Centers, to the extent their resources allow, acquire and store data from national and international sources, in accordance with procedures and standards recommended by various international scientific bodies in the ICSU family, or other appropriate international organizations, and approved by the ICSU Panel on World Data Centers. These procedures are published periodically in the Guide to the World Data Center System.

4 World Data Centers exchange data among themselves on a mutually agreed, reciprocal basis.

5 Data held by a World Data Center must be completely accessible by scientists in all countries, upon written request or personal visit. Charges may be imposed to cover the costs of providing services to users.

6 The resources required for the activities of a World Data Center are the responsibility of the host country or institution. In order to provide continuity, the host country is expected to provide these resources on a longterm basis.

7 The coordination of WDC activities within a country is the responsibility of the appropriate national committee or scientific institution under which it is established.

8 The designation of institutions as WDCs is normally the responsibility of the host country acting with the approval of the ICSU Panel.

9 A WDC which for some reason may not be able to continue its activities and services is invited to make its holdings and records available to another WDC in the same discipline, and to notify the ICSU Panel through the A, B, C1 or C2 representative.

10 Each WDC is expected to report on its activities as requested by ICSU.


1 In accord with the General Principles, World Data Centers will fulfil data exchange requirements set out in the current version of the Guide to the World Data Center System. To the extent possible they will also respond to resolutions and recommendations from appropriate international organizations.

2 Duplication of data collections between WDCs may be specified in some disciplines.

3 Whenever possible the exchange of data between World Data Centers will take place without charge.

4 The provision of WDC data to an individual scientist or institution will normally require a charge to cover the costs of duplication and handling. This charge may be waived when the individual or institution is a contributor to the WDC concerned.

5 A WDC may also provide a mechanism for a scientist to request data not explicitly described in the Guide to the World Data Center System. In response to a bona fide request for such data, the WDC will attempt to obtain the data or forward the request to another WDC for action.

6 Where a WDC maintains a data collection, it must provide proper facilities for data storage and maintenance, and ensure that data copies are subject to adequate standards of accuracy, clarity and durability.

7 World Data Centers will explore the utilization of modern technology for data storage, data communications and user access.

8 Each World Data Center must be open to visitors and guest workers from any country and all data held under WDC auspices must be accessible to such visitors and workers.

9 Each World Data Center has a responsibility to make available to other WDCs and the scientific community a detailed description of the data available through the WDC.

10 Where more than one WDC holds or has access to data in a given discipline, joint data catalogs or inventories should be compiled.

11 World Data Centers endeavor to coordinate their activities, standardize data formats and cooperate in international projects and to this end visits by WDC staff to other WDCs and to international scientific meetings are encouraged.

12 World Data Centers receive data from many sources. While every attempt will be made to assure reasonable standards of data quality and related documentation, the ultimate responsibility for data reliability lies with the data contributor, not the WDC.

[Appendix A] [Appendix B] [Appendix C] [Appendix D] [Appendix E]

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