1. Environmental data should be archived and made accessible.

  2. Data-generating activities should include adequate resources to support end-to-end data management.

  3. Environmental data management activities should recognize user needs.

  4. Effective interagency and international partnerships are essential.

  5. Metadata are essential for data management.

  6. Data and metadata require expert stewardship.

  7. A formal, ongoing process, with broad community input, is needed to decide what data to archive and what data not to archive.

  8. An effective data archive should provide for discovery, access, and integration.

  9. Effective data management requires a formal, ongoing planning process.

Although the principles are numbered for convenience, all nine should be regarded as equally important for effective environmental data management. The explanations that follow include key guidelines that explain how these principles could and should be applied to improve the effectiveness, reliability, and utility of NOAA’s data management activities. The numbers in brackets indicate the chapter(s) of the report where each principle is discussed.

PRINCIPLE #1: Environmental data should be archived and made accessible. [3, 5, 6]

In the view of this committee and many other groups, full and open access to data should be a fundamental tenet at all US federal agencies, including NOAA. The environmental data1 collected by NOAA and its partners constitute an invaluable resource that should be securely archived and made broadly accessible so that a diverse group of users can conduct the analyses and generate the products necessary to describe, understand, and predict changes in the Earth’s environment. Although it is impossible to save everything, the goal of NOAA’s data management enterprise should be to ensure that the broadest possible collection of environmental data is archived and made discoverable and accessible to


Throughout this report, the term “environmental data” is used broadly to indicate all types of Earth System observations (including physical samples as well as in situ and remotely sensed data), model output, and synthesized products derived from these data.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement