Geosciences and Data

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Graphic of the Geosciences and Data Fact SheetEarth and space science data are critical to scientific advancement and our understanding of how natural systems and phenomena change over time. These data should be openly accessible and preserved for reuse into the future.

AGU is committed to data stewardship and preservation through its publication guidelines and policies. AGU adopted a Data Position statement that defined the importance of data in scientific research and emphasized their value in contributing to scientific advances that positively impact society.

The Challenges

Data collection and analysis are a cornerstone of scientific research, yet no universal standards exist for the curation and preservation of Earth and space science data that make them readily accessible to inform other scientists or future research.

Challenges include:

  • Earth and space science data are created in large amounts every day and need to be collected, curated, and stored. Each year that volume increases.
  • Data are diverse, and not all scientific domains have a repository that supports their specific requirements. Data can include physical samples, perishable field observation data, and various forms of digital information.
  • Researchers must publish their data in its final form when required by publishers, but the raw data or interim data
  • products may also be needed for other scientists to understand or reproduce the science.
  • The quality and completeness of metadata can vary because not all repositories follow the same standards. Determining if existing data can be reused for new research requires complete and accurate metadata.
  • Funding open access data, managed and preserved in a discoverable repository, and determining who is financially
  • responsible for the steps in the data storage process are an issue.

Improving and Advancing Data

How do we as a community ensure the long-term preservation of all Earth and space science data? Cultural changes that recognize the role data managers play in academia and research, community-backed guidelines, and technical tools are needed to ensure data are open, accessible, and understood.

To address these challenges, AGU has developed the Data Management Assessment Program, which helps data repositories, large and small, domain specific to general, use best practices to assess and improve their data management practices.

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