One of the first accomplishments of the Group on Earth Observations was the acceptance of a set of high level Data Sharing Principles as a foundation for GEOSS. Ensuring that these principles are implemented in an effective yet flexible manner remains a major challenge.
As part of the implementation of GEOSS, a team of experts has worked on the GEO Work Plan Task on GEOSS Data Sharing Principles DA-06-01 under the leadership of the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) of the International Council for Science (ICSU). Over the past two years, the team has drafted a White Paper that provides an overview of international data sharing laws, principles, and policies and recommends a draft set of implementation guidelines for the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles as outlined in the GEOSS 10-Year Implementation Plan. The White Paper builds upon a diverse history of data sharing practices to forge a set of specific guidelines for data sharing—consistent with the accepted Data Sharing Principles—that should enable GEOSS to maximize its societal benefits and realize its potential.
Following the successful initiation and progress of the Task, in November 2007, GEO IV requested that a process be put in place to further the establishment of detailed GEOSS data sharing guidelines leading up to their implementation. This document is not intended as a legal framework, but rather as a common basis for community discussion on how to share the data and information contributed to GEOSS.
It is important that all GEO Members and Participating Organizations contribute their respective expertise and vision for data sharing to this document. Only in this way can we be sure to establish a set of guidelines that are acceptable to all contributors to GEOSS.
The process for arriving at such a consolidated and detailed set of GEOSS Data Sharing Principles will be an evolving one. Over the coming two years, the Task Team, with support from the GEO Secretariat, aims to have these Guidelines further defined, thoroughly assessed and therefore mature for implementation by Members and Participating Organizations at the time of the GEO Ministerial in 2010. As next milestone, it is foreseen to present the White Paper to the 5th GEO Plenary meeting in Beijing in November 2008 for discussion.
The schedule for GEO approval of the GEOSS Data Sharing Guidelines is as follows:
November 2008: Discussion of the draft guidelines at GEO-V Plenary. Submission of the Process Paper to the GEO community.
November 2008-June 2009: Additional revisions to the draft guidelines. Assessment of the potential impact of the Data Sharing Guidelines on Members' and Participating Organization's current national data policies. Discussion and consensus-building activities to clarify to what degree value-added data and services contributed to GEOSS (e.g., model outputs, data processing to higher levels for application/analysis/decision making) are subject to the Data Sharing Principles. Discussion of possible additions to the guidelines.
November 2009: Discussion of the draft guidelines at GEO-VI Plenary. Reports by GEO Members and Participating Organizations on their national data policies in relationship to
the proposed guidelines and associated implementation issues and plans.
Mid-2009 to Mid-2010: Additional revisions to the draft guidelines. Identification and implementation of specific actions and plans to improve consistency with the principles.
November 2010: Guidelines considered for adoption at GEO-VII and Ministerial Summit.
White Paper on the GEOSS Data Sharing Principles
Response to Review Comments