World Data System (WDS)

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Founded within the framework of H-XA1752 - International Council for Science (ICSU), when World Data Centres (WDCs) were set up to provide archives for the observational data resulting from the 'International Geophysical Year' (IGY), with activities guided by IGY Coordinator in Brussels (Belgium).

The System has since expanded and evolved to cover an ever wider variety of geophysical and environmental data, guided and coordinated since 1968 by 'ICSU Panel on World Data Centres'.

At ICSU General Assembly, Oct 2008, Maputo (Mozambique), it was decided to merge World Data Center System (WDCs) – Système des centres mondiaux de données with H-XB0930 - Federation of Astronomical and Geophysical Data Analysis Services (FAGS) into a new system.

Currently functions within A-XM6956 - International Science Council (ISC).


Form a worldwide 'community of excellence' for multidisciplinary scientific data to ensure long-term stewardship and provision of quality-assessed data and data services to the international science community and other stakeholders.


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Scientific Committee (WDS-SC), headed by Chair and comprised of 12 members; International Program Office (IPO), hosted by the University of Tennessee Oak Ridge Innovation Institute in Knoxville TN (USA), headed by an Executive Director; Working Groups.


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Relations with Inter-Governmental Organizations

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Relations with Non-Governmental Organizations

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Type I Classification

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Type II Classification

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Subjects *

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UN Sustainable Development Goals **

GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure



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* Subject classification is derived from the organization names and aims.
** UN SDGs are linked to the subject classification.

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