The World Data System (ICSU-WDS) is striving to build worldwide ‘communities of excellence’ for scientific data services by certifying Member Organizations—holders and providers of data, data products or services— from wide-ranging fields by using internationally recognized standards.
WDS Members are the building blocks of a searchable common infrastructure, from which a data system that is both interoperable and distributed can be formed. WDS Regular members are organizations providing data stewardship and/or data analysis services (e.g. data repositories and data publication services). WDS Network Members are umbrella organizations representing and/or coordinating groups of data repositories and/or data services, some may or may not be WDS Regular Members.
As part of the process of developing the WDS, certification criteria and a transparent and objective procedure for evaluating candidates for Regular and Network membership were developed by the WDS Scientific Committee to ensure the trustworthiness of WDS Members in terms of authenticity, integrity, confidentiality and availability of data and services.
Certification is important because it promotes trust and confidence in the usability and persistence of shared data resources. It also helps repositories, data centres and services improve their practices and procedures.
To be accredited as WDS Regular or Network Members, candidate organizations must fulfil the membership requirements (see WDS Bylaws ) and undergo a certification procedure against a catalogue of requirements, providing the basis for their evaluation as well as for periodic assessment.