The ICSU World Data System (ICSU-WDS) was created by the International Council for Science's (ICSU) General Assembly in October 2008. ICSU-WDS goals are to preserve quality assured scientific data and information, to facilitate open access, and promote the adoption of standards.
The ICSU World Data System (WDS) was created through a decision of the 29th General Assembly of the International Council for Science (ICSU).
ICSU World Data System superseded the World Data Centres (WDCs) and Federation of Astronomical and Geophysical data analysis Services (FAGS) created by ICSU to manage data generated by the International Geophysical Year (1957–1958).
ICSU World Data System is governed by a Scientific Committee(SC) made up of data scientists and experts. It is supported by an International Programme Office (IPO), which is hosted and funded by the Japanese National Institute of Information and Communications Technology as well as the International Council for Science.
Building on the 50-year legacy of the ICSU World Data Centres (WDCs) and the ICSU Federation of Astronomical and Geophysical data-analysis Services, the WDS aims at transitioning from existing stand-alone data centres and data services to a common, globally interoperable, distributed data system that incorporates emerging technologies and new scientific data activities.
The new system builds on the potential offered by advanced interconnections between data management components to foster disciplinary and multidisciplinary applications for the benefit of the international scientific community and other stakeholders.
As of 9 September 2016, WDS has 98 Member organizations, including 64 Regular Members, 10 Network Members, 6 Partner Members and 18 Associate Members, and numerous other applications continue to be reviewed by the WDS Scientific Committee (see:community/membership)
WDS covers a broad disciplinary and geographic base and is striving to become a world-wide ’community of excellence' for stewardship and provision of scientific data. To this end, WDS collaborates with several strategic partners, such as the Research Data Alliance (RDA) and the ICSU Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA).