FAQs

FAQs

FAQs2024-02-21T10:34:40+01:00
IOC Data Policy and Terms of Use (2023)2024-05-06T15:27:08+02:00

The IOC adopted its first data policy in 2003. In 2023 the IOC Assembly, taking into account various considerations, decided to adopt a revised policy entitled “IOC Data Policy and Terms of Use (2023)”. In addition to adopting the policy, the Assembly also decided to develop Guidelines for the development of detailed data and metadata sharing guidelines by all IOC programmes and projects. The Policy recommends that member states and their ocean practitioners share their data, while also recommending the use of licenses to ensure that the work of the scientist/data provider is recognized.

 IOC Data Policy and Terms of Use (2023)

  • Section 1. Preamble
    The timely, open and unrestricted international sharing, in both real-time and delayed mode of ocean metadata, data and products is essential for a wide variety of purposes and benefits including scientific research, innovation and decision making, the prediction of weather and climate, the operational forecasting of the marine environment, the preservation of life, economic welfare, safety and security of society, the mitigation of human-induced changes in the marine and coastal environment, as well as for the advancement of scientific understanding that makes this possible. Metadata, data and products should be accessible, interoperable and openly shared with minimum delay and minimum restrictions.
  • Section 2. Purpose
    The purpose of this data policy is to outline the requirements with respect to sharing, access, preservation, and attribution to facilitate the broad use and reuse of metadata, data and products.
  • Section 3. FAIR & CARE principles
    To support knowledge discovery and innovation both by humans and machines and to acknowledge indigenous data governance, data should meet the FAIR Guiding Principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable)[1] and In the case of indigenous data and information, data should meet the CARE principles (Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility, Ethics)[2] to the greatest extent practicable.
  • Section 4. Conditions of use
    Data should be licensed (respecting Section 8) under a minimally restrictive and voluntary common-use licence[3] that grants permission, ensures proper attribution (for example, citable using a persistent identifier) and allows others to copy, distribute and make use of the data.
  • Section 5. Data Repositories and the IOC ocean data and information system (ODIS)
    Data should be quality controlled (using community adopted and documented best practices or standards), accompanied by complete metadata and stored in an openly discoverable and accessible long-term data repository and made available through standards-based data services. Member States shall encourage convergence and interoperability and, where possible, use IODE data centres (National Oceanographic Data Centres or Associate Data Units) or other IOC programme related data centres that share metadata and data using the IOC Ocean Data and Information System (ODIS). ODIS is an interoperability layer and supporting technology, to allow existing and emerging ocean data and information systems to interoperate with one another.
  • Section 6: Secure long-term data archives
    To support long-term and secure archival, data and associated metadata should be submitted, to the best practicable degree, to IODE’s World Ocean Database (WOD), the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS), other IOC related global data archives, and data centres linked to the World Data System (WDS), their successors or other global data archives.
  • Section 7. Access restrictions
    Data and associated metadata should be made available with minimal restrictions on use unless there are valid reasons to restrict access. Legitimate reasons to restrict access to, and reuse of, data include, inter alia, privacy and confidentiality, protection of species, populations or habitats of concern, and national security.
  • Section 8. Data sharing policies of Member States
    This Policy acknowledges the right of Member States and data owners to determine the terms of metadata, data and products sharing in a manner consistent with national jurisdictions, international conventions, and treaties, where applicable.
  • Section 9. Data and metadata sharing guidelines
    IOC programmes, projects as well as other communities of practice should develop and/or apply, where applicable, detailed metadata, data and products sharing guidelines that are consistent with this IOC Data Policy and Terms of Use.
  • Section 10. Definitions
    Data’ is a set of values, symbols or signs (recorded on any type of medium) that represent one or more properties of an entity[4].
    Metadata’ is ‘data about data’ describing the content, quality, condition, and other characteristics of data that allows their inventory, discovery, evaluation or use.
    Timely’ in this context means the distribution of data and/or products, sufficiently rapidly to be of value for a given application.
    Openly’ means data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone – subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share alike.
    Product’ means a value-added enhancement of data applied to a particular use.

  1.  Wilkinson, M., Dumontier, M., Aalbersberg, I. et al. 2016. The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Scientific Data 3:60018 https://doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2016.18
  2. CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance. https://www.gida-global.org/care
  3. For example: the Creative Commons family of licences https://creativecommons.org/about/cclicenses/
  4. Ocean Decade Implementation Plan
How to submit a new IODE activity or project proposal?2024-05-06T15:27:13+02:00

To submit a proposal for a new IODE project or activity you need to fill and submit form IODE.F05

How to develop a Data Management Plan?2024-05-06T15:27:18+02:00

IODE published in 2016 the IOC Manuals and Guides No. 73 (Guidelines for a Data Management Plan).

A data management plan is a formal document outlining how research data will be managed, stored, documented and secured throughout a research project as well as planning for what will happen to the data after completion of the project. The data management plan is intended to provide descriptive details of the data, the processes, the decisions, as well as identifying roles and responsibilities. This also includes a long-term data sharing and preservation plan to ensure data are publicly accessible beyond the life of the project. A data management plan is often a requirement of funding agencies. The IODE encourages all researchers to prepare a data management plan for research projects that will collect marine data and to ensure the data generated by research projects be permanently archived in the IODE network of National Oceanographic Data Centres (NODCs).

How to inform IOC of the nomination of an IODE National Coordinator for data or information management?2024-05-06T15:27:24+02:00

In order for the IODE Secretariat to communicate effectively and efficiently on matters related to IODE, it was decided that each IOC Member State should have an IODE national coordinator for ocean data management, and an IODE national coordinator for marine information management. To inform IOC please send an email or letter to:

Peter Pissierssens
Head, IOC/UNESCO Project Office for IODE
IODE Programme Coordinator
Jacobsenstraat 1
8400 Oostende BELGIUM

email: p.pissierssens@unesco.org

Please also register national coordinators in OceanExpert and inform the above mentioned IODE programme coordinator when a coordinator is replaced.

How to set up an IODE Associate Information Unit (AIU)2024-05-06T15:27:02+02:00

Associate Information Units (AIU) providing recognition and accreditation for marine science libraries and information centres is complementary to the Associate Data Unit structure for the IODE Data Management programme. Information (as usually managed by librarians and information managers) is as essential in the research process as data.

AIU’s were the final recommendation  of the Group of Experts on Marine Information Management (GE-MIM) which had existed since 1984 and initiated many of the IODE information products. GE-MIM was disbanded along with other Groups of Experts by IODE-XXIV following IODE project-based restructuring. IODE National Coordinators for Marine Information Management continue to exist and along with AIUs are the main communication channel for MIM discussions.

Global marine science libraries and information centres are encouraged to become Associate Information Units

Regarding marine information management, the IODE works closely with the International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers (IAMSLIC).

What are the Terms of Reference to become an AIU:

IODE Associate Information Units (AIUs) shall:

    1. Be national projects, programmes, institutions or organizations, or regional or international projects, programmes, institutions or organizations (including academia) that carry out marine information management functions, and/or provide marine information services/products;
    2. Be staffed by at least one marine information professional (by qualification or experience);
    3. Demonstrate active digital development: online information services and products;
    4. Promote Open Access to information. In this context “Open Access” is defined as “unrestricted access and unrestricted reuse” to/of information;
    5. Display a collaborative and networking ethos through:
      1. Membership/partnership of professional library/information networks to enrich their own as well as the entire IODE community;
      2. Sharing expertise and experience with other AIUs, and IODE National Coordinators for Marine Information Management;
      3. Sharing information on new digital initiatives implemented within the AIU, with the IODE community;
      4. Encourage organization staff to submit to OceanExpert
      5. Receive information on, and contribute to, IODE standards and best practices related to marine information management;
      6. Be welcomed to participate in training activities, organized within the framework of the IODE OceanTeacher Global Academy programme;
      7. Be welcomed to participate in IODE workshops and projects;
      8. Agree to display the IODE/AIU decal logo on your webpage and on marine information products developed in collaboration with IODE;
      9. Agree to make available information management documentation (standards, practices, guides…) used by the AIU for the wider marine science library and information community.

How to become AIU ?

Any marine science related project, programme, institution or organization that is willing to comply with the above-mentioned Terms of Reference can apply to join IODE as an IODE Associate Information Unit (AIU).

An application form can be downloaded here .

Information that should be provided includes:

  1. name and description of the national, regional or international institution, organization, project or programme, include URL;
  2. name of the applicant AIU (if different from (1));
  3. URL of web presence of the applicant AIU;
  4. URL of database where AIU collection holdings are recorded;
  5. URL of Open Access document repository;
  6. brief description of information services/products/digital initiatives provided by the
    entity including any separate URLs;
  7. name and contact information of the AIU contact point(s);
    (note that this name can be different from the person signing the application.
    The AIU contact point will be contacted for all practical, technical and scientific
    communications);
  8. name and contact information of the head of the applicant entity:
    (Director of institution, project coordinator, etc. This may be the name of the
    person signing the application);
  9. description of staff and skills/expertise (include IT support);
  10. opportunities provided to staff for professional
    development (inhouse training/ external training/participation in
    conferences…);
  11. metrics (e.g. number of journal subscriptions, number of
    holdings, number of records in repositories and other databases etc);
  12. demonstrated involvement in a professional network or
    partnership (e.g. active member of library network, partner
    in funded collaborative project at regional, national, international level etc)
  13. involvement in research data management activities (e.g. RDM resources webpage or assisting with creation of a Data Management Plan (DMP))
  14. for projects: expected lifespan of the project and indication of plans for the archival/preservation of the information output;
  15. please attach letter of support from organization management;
  16. required capacity building, training that IODE should provide;
  17. information on the existing relationship with IODE (if applicable).

Applications for AIUs shall be reviewed and approved by the IODE-Management Group (by email or during IODE-MG meetings). contact details?

The Group will use APPLICATION CRITERIA documented in THIS DOCUMENT

How to set up an IODE Associate Data Unit (ADU)2024-05-06T15:27:37+02:00

The IODE Associate Data Unit is inteded to bring in the wider ocean research and observation communities as key stakeholders of the IODE network, taking into account the growth of ocean research and observation programmes and projects, and the ability of these projects to establish data systems.It is important for these communities to share, provide access to and preserve all ocean research and observation data.

By joining IODE as an ADU projects, programmes, institutions or organizations will get the following benefits:

  • Receive information on, and contribute to, IODE standards and best practices related to ocean data management,
  • Be welcomed to participate in ocean data and information management training, organized within the framework of the IODE OceanTeacher programme
  • Receive assistance, upon request, from IODE, on matters related to ocean data management,
  • Be invited, as observers, to participate in Sessions of the IODE Committee,
  • Participate in IODE workshops and projects,
  • Share expertise with other ADUs and NODCs,

In return the global community, through the IODE National Oceanographic Data Centres, will benefit from the ADUs as these will be invited to share their data and information on their data collection (metadata catalogue), and this should be through their NODC (in the case of national projects, programmes, institutions or organizations), or through another IODE data facility (in the case of regional or international projects, programmes, institutions or organizations) or, in the case of biogeographic data, through iOBIS.

Applying to become an ADU

Any project, programme, institution or organization that wishes to join IODE as an IODE Associate Data Unit should contact the IOC Project Office for IODE (email to p.pissierssens@unesco.org) and provide the following information:

  1. name and contact information of the ADU contact point(s);
  2. name and contact point of the head of the applicant entity;
  3. description of the national, regional or international project, programme, institution or organization;
  4. brief description of data services/products provided by the entity;
  5. for projects: expected lifespan of the project and indication of plan for the archival/preservation of the data, data management plan;
  6. letters of support;
  7. required expertise, training that IODE could contribute;
  8. data policy (if identified) of the applicant entity;
  9. of the existing relationship with a NODC.

An application form can be downloaded here . It should be filled and signed. When submitting please send us the MS-Word version (with signature) as well as a scanned version (with signature). Please also discuss your application with your NODC (if existing) as well as with your IOC national contact as the ADUs should work closely with the NODCs (if existing).

Applications shall be reviewed by the IODE Officers (by email or during IODE Officer meetings) in consultation with –  and in the case of national projects, programmes, institutions or organization, subject to approval by the relevant NODC (if existing) –  SG-OBIS (for biogeographic information) or other relevant recognized international programme.

How to establish a National Oceanographic Data Centre (NODC)?2024-05-06T15:27:42+02:00

The answer to this question can be found in IOC Manuals and Guides No. 5 (3rd revision) published in 2022. This Guide is intended as a tool for policy makers at the national level to assist them with the decision-making related to the establishment of national facilities for the management of oceanographic data (and information). It is also intended to be a reference document for national organizations involved in, or planning to be involved in, oceanographic data and information management.

How to get accreditation for your NODC?2024-05-06T15:27:48+02:00

The IODE Committee adopted Recommendation IODE-XXII.18 which established the IODE Quality Management Framework (IODE-QMF). IODE-QMF provides overall strategy, advice and guidance for NODCs to design and implement Quality Management Systems (QMS) for the successful delivery of oceanographic and related data, products and services and to ensure NODCs can demonstrate their capabilities to provide data and services in compliance with established standards and responsibilities that will lead to accreditation. The IODE encourages NODCs to implement a QMS and to demonstrate they are in conformity with ISO 9001, the international standard for quality management.

Accreditation requirements

NODCs seeking formal accreditation will need to meet a minimum set of requirements to ensure compliance with IODE standards and to establish a mechanism to regularly monitor and assess the quality of data and service. NODCs will need to demonstrate their ability to provide secure long-term storage of and access to marine data. The IODE committee has established accreditation criteria to ensure NODCs meet these requirements. Submissions for accreditation should address all the accreditation criteria which can be found in IODE Quality Management Framework for National Oceanographic Data Centres. (IOC Manuals and Guides 67, 2nd revision (2023)).

Accreditation process

The accreditation process comprises the following steps:

  1. Submission of accreditation application in response to the IODE Accreditation Requirements to the IODE Steering Group for Quality Management Framework (SG-QMF) through the IODE Secretariat;
  2. Review of the accreditation application the SG-QMF;
  3. Response from SG-QMF to applicant
  4. Formulation of recommendation regarding accreditation for consideration by the IODE Officers;
  5. Decision by the IODE Officers, on behalf of the IODE Committee.

Successful applications will be awarded the status of Accredited IODE National Oceanographic Data Centre.

Prepare your accreditation submission

The steps required to prepare a submission for accreditation include:

  1. Develop and implement a Quality Management System (QMS). A QMS consists of a set of rules (procedures) that an organization decides to follow in order to achieve its objectives related to the quality of its products and services. Such a system contains, for example, rules concerning the general management of the organization and makes reference to the technical procedures which have to be followed, the quality controls which are performed on the products or services and the actions to be taken if the products or services do not comply with the requested specifications.
  2. Prepare a Quality Manual which documents the scope of an organization’s QMS, including references to documented policies and processes, and describes the scope and extent of the QMS.
  3. Complete the IODE accreditation check list and provide relevant documentation that your QMS meets the requirements.
  4. If your organization has a certified QMS (for example ISO 9001 certification), provide evidence.
  5. Submit accreditation request to the SG-QMF
The mission of a National Oceanographic Data Centre (NODC)2024-05-06T15:27:53+02:00

The mission of a National Oceanographic Data Centre is to provide access and stewardship for the national resource of oceanographic data. This effort requires the gathering, quality control, processing, summarization, dissemination, and preservation of data generated by national and international agencies.

The full range of data management tasks to be carried out by a national oceanographic data management “system” can be summarized as follows:

  • receiving data from national, regional and international programmes collecting oceanographic data
  • verifying the quality of the data (using agreed upon standards)
  • ensuring the long term preservation of the data and associated information required for correct interpretation of the data
  • making data available, nationally and internationally

National Responsibilities include:

  1. Receiving data from researchers, performing quality control, and archiving.
  2. Receiving data from buoys, ships and satellites on a daily basis, processing the data in a timely way, and providing outputs to various research and engineering users, forecasters, experiment managers, or to other centres participating in the data management plan for the data in question.
  3. Reporting the results of quality control directly to data collectors as part of the quality assurance module for the system.
  4. Participating in the development of data management plans and establishing systems to support major experiments, monitoring systems, fisheries advisory systems.
  5. Disseminating data on the Internet and through other means (and on CD-ROM, DVD, etc).
  6. Publishing statistical studies and atlases of oceanographic variables.
  7. Providing indicators for the different types of data being exchanged in order to track the progress.

International Responsibilities include:

  1. Participating in the development of international standards and methods for data management through the IODE and JCOMM.
  2. Participating in international oceanographic data and information exchange through the IODE.
  3. Assisting with data management aspects of global or regional programmes or pilot projects through IODE and in the framework of, inter alia, the IOC’s Strategic Plan for Oceanographic Data and Information Management.
  4. Operating as a data assembly and quality control centre for part of an international science experiment.
  5. Operating regional, specialized or World Data Centre (WDC) on behalf of the international science community.
  6. Participating in the bi-annual Sessions of the IODE Committee.

NODCs are designated by Governments of IOC Member States. Recommended steps for the designation of an NODC are described in the “Guide for establishing a National Oceanographic Data Centre” (IOC Manuals and Guides No. 5) and the “IODE Quality Management Framework for National Oceanographic Data Centres” (IOC Manuals and Guides No. 67). This promotes accreditation of NODCs according to agreed criteria and provides assistance to NODCs to establish organizational quality management systems.

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