International Council for Science - World Data Center System

B. Rules for Opening and Closing World Data Centers

I The aim of the WDC system is to support ICSU programs. To this end, it is desirable to maintain more than one WDC in any discipline or program area, as a safeguard against catastrophic loss of unique data, to share the work of preparing catalogs and deriving higher-order data products, and to provide convenient access to data and facilities. Experience suggests that about three Centers in a given discipline suffice for these purposes.

II The following guidelines refer to the Panel's procedures for responding to new needs. Different cases arise for different categories of WDC, namely:

* Complex WDCs that comprise a comprehensive set of Centers in one country, with a national coordination mechanism (para. III);

* Individual parts of a complex WDC (para. IV);

* Independent Centers that are not part of a complex WDC (para. V).

III Any proposal for establishing an entire new complex WDC must initially be submitted to the Chairman. The Executive will require a very strong case for approving any such proposal.

IV In the case of a proposed new Center within a complex WDC (i.e., WDC-A, WDC-B and WDC-D) the Panel will rely on that WDC's member for assurances that the new Center will conform to the Panel's Principles and Responsibilities of WDCs, as prescribed in the Panel's Guide to the WDC System. The new Center must meet ICSU program requirements that are not already met in that WDC.

V In the case of a new independent WDC-C, the proposal should be submitted through the WDC-C1 or WDC-C2 representative, according to geographical location. It should also have the endorsement of the relevant national body adhering to ICSU. The case for establishing the new WDC will be evaluated by the Executive.

VI Any proposed WDC in a new discipline or program must have the general endorsement of the appropriate ICSU body or program organization, and be international in its activities. It should also have the endorsement of the relevant national body adhering to ICSU. For major programs the proposal should include a data management plan.

VII Circumstances may sometimes require the closing of a Center, which nonetheless has terminal responsibilities to the WDC system. Any organization that wishes to close a WDC (whether it be part of a complex WDC or an independent WDC) should notify the Panel, specifying the arrangements for preserving the data holdings or transferring them to another WDC.


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