Birth of the ICSU
The International Geophysical Year in 1957–1958 saw the creation by the International Council for Science (ICSU) of the World Data Centres (WDCs) and Federation of Astronomical and Geophysical data analysis Services (FAGS). Charged with managing the data gathered by this global project and making those available to the scientific community, both the WDCs and FAGS remained largely unchanged for 50 years.
It was another major international scientific initiative, the International Polar Year (IPY; 2007
–2008), that saw the disbanding of the WDCs and FAGS in 2009 by the ICSU General Assembly. Hoping to utilize the existing infrastructure to house the diverse IPY data, it quickly became clear that the predominantly disciplinary centres and services
were not able to respond to modern da
The ICSU World Data System (WDS) was thus born from the legacy of those two bodies with the aim of transitioning from stand-alone components to a common
, globally coordinated and distributed data system. By ensuring universal and equitable access to, and long-term stewardship of, quality-assured scientific data and data services, products and information covering a broad range of natural sciences and expanding to social sciences, WDS supports ICSU’s mission of “strengthening international science for the benefit of society”.