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Data Policy

Table of contents
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Subject area/Theme

Data and Architecture: Management

Short summary of Best Practice:

Make Earth science data openly available to all users at minimal or no charge

Explain why is there a need for this Best Practice?

Open data policy is essential to progress in Earth science and in encouraging utilization of data in research and applications

Provide an example application(s):

NASA has an open data policy for all of the data and products from its Earth science program. This inlcudes the data and higher level products from the Earth Observing System (EOS) missions. Most of the data are provided to requesting users at no charge. There is no period of exclusive access. 

How widely deployed is this practice(if applicable)

To be supplied

Source document(s):

NASA Earth Science Reference Handbook

NASA’s Earth Science Data Systems: A “Bit of History” and Observations

Detailed Description of Best Practice

NASA’s Earth Science program was established to use the advanced technology of NASA to understand and protect our home planet by using our view from space to study the Earth system and improve prediction of Earth system change. To meet this challenge, NASA promotes the full and open sharing of all data with the research and applications communities, private industry, academia, and the general public. The greater the availability of the data, the more quickly and effectively the user communities can utilize the information to address basic Earth science questions and provide the basis for developing innovative practical applications to benefit the general public.

A common set of carefully crafted data exchange and access principles was created by the Japanese, European and U.S. International Earth Observing System (IEOS) partners during the 1990s and the early years of the 21st century. From these principles, NASA has adopted a data policy (in this context the term ‘data’ includes observation data, metadata, products, information, algorithms, including scientific source code, documentation, models, images, and research results).

A complete statement of this policy can be found in pages 35-36 of the NASA Earth Science Reference Handbook


Unless otherwise noted, the opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect NASA policy or endorsement by NASA.


Editor's Comment:

See related best practice entry - Cost transparency regarding data product use

-- H. K. Ramapriyan


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