More ‘exam’ success! Certification and membership of the ISC- World Data System (WDS)

Earlier in the year we reported on a successful outcome from CoreTrustSeal (CSA) certification application, becoming the fifth repository in the UK to achieve this important standard. As an organisation, we are always pushing hard to ensure that our activities meet with good practice within the archaeological and heritage sectors, but also within the wider digital data communities. With this in mind, we are excited to announce acceptance as a regular member of the World Data System (WDS) and a certified Trusted Scientific Data Services.

What is the World Data System? The WDS is an Interdisciplinary Body of the International Science Council (ISC), established in 2008 with the long-term vision of creating:

“a world where excellence in science is effectively translated into policy making and socio-economic development. In such a world, universal and equitable access to scientific data and information is a reality and all countries have the scientific capacity to use these and to contribute to generating the new knowledge that is necessary to establish their own development pathways in a sustainable manner.”

International Science Council (ISC; formerly ICSU)

As such, the WDS supports this long-term vision through the promotion of long-term stewardship of, and universal and equitable access to, quality-assured scientific data and data services, products, and information across all disciplines in the natural and social sciences, and the humanities. In order to achieve these outcomes the WDS is building a worldwide ‘community of excellence’ through the certification of member organisations.

Illustration by Jørgen Stamp CC BY 2.5 Denmark

What does acceptance to the WDS mean for ADS? As a member of the WDS the ADS joins an international and multidisciplinary ‘community of excellence’ that adheres to the WDS stated aims:

  • Enable universal and equitable access to quality-assured scientific data, data services, products and information
  • Ensure long term data stewardship
  • Foster compliance to agreed-upon data standards and conventions
  • Provide mechanisms to facilitate and improve access to data and data products

As many of you will know these have been stated aims for the ADS for many years, but it is good to be part of wider community with similar objectives. As one of a group of some 125 repositories worldwide, and the fourth in the UK, to hold WDS membership the ADS is in some esteemed company that includes many national archives, alongside other specialised data centres. As such, the achievement will certainly raise the profile of the ADS on the national and international stage.

What will this mean for ADS depositors? As a holder of the WDS Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repository depositors, past and present, can have confidence that their data is being well looked after; that systems, processes and procedures are in place to ensure that data will be preserved and accessible.

What will this mean for data consumers and ADS users? Membership also signifies the ADS’ continued commitments to open data through adherence to the WDS Data Sharing Principles meaning that we will continue to provide high quality, sustainable and citeable resources that will be available for the long-term.

This represents a huge achievement for all ADS staff, and as an organisation, we are truly excited about the achievement of WDS certification and the possibilities that membership to such an esteemed network represents. When the celebrations have finished, we are looking forward to taking an active role in this important group, highlighting all the great work undertaken within the archaeology and heritage sectors throughout the UK.