Data Standards and Profiles

Requirements and Guidelines

IPY Data Policy (PDF file, ~110 KB)

Spanish Translation (PDF file, ~120 KB)

All IPY projects have agreed to adhere to the IPY Data Policy, which provides the basis for the overall IPY data management strategy. Key requirements of the Policy include:

  • Full, free, open, and timely release of IPY data (with limited exceptions)
  • Deposit of basic descriptive metadata in an internationally recognized, standard format to an appropriate catalog or registry
  • Formal acknowledgement of data authors (contributors) and sources.

IPY Metadata Profile

All data registries and repositories collecting data and metadata from IPY projects are required to collect and share sufficient information to adhere to the IPY Metadata Profile requirements.

How to Cite a Data Set

The IPY Data Policy requires that "users of IPY data must formally acknowledge data authors (contributors) and sources. Where possible, this acknowledgment should take the form of a formal citation, such as when citing a book or journal article." These guidelines help data managers and users develop appropriate citations for data sets.

Data Documentation Template

Complete data documentation is essential in ensuring the data can be independently understood. This document outlines a template for the elements that should be included as part of a complete data set documentation.

IPY Data Repositories

To be recognized as an formal IPY Data Repository, the repository must:

  • Contain data collected as part of IPY and specifically identify those data as IPY data
  • Provide continual access to IPY data
  • Ensure the long-term preservation of IPY data either at the repository or through a formal plan to transition the data to a suitable long-term repository
  • Adhere to the IPY Data Policy (PDF file, ~110 KB)
  • Adhere to standards and guidelines developed by the IPY Data Policy and Management Subcommittee, including the IPY Metadata Profile.

Projects may make their data available through other means such as their own Web sites, but they must have a plan in place to migrate the data to an IPY Data Repository.

If you have questions about these standards, contact .


The interdisciplinary and international breadth of IPY precludes the application of too many standards across all of IPY. Nevertheless, the IPY Data Committee recommends that IPY projects and data managers adopt common data sharing protocols and stewardship practices where applicable.

IPY Publications Database The Data Committee encourages authors of publications related to IPY to submit bibliographic information to the IPY Publications Database.
Open Geospatial Consortium The Open Geospatial Consortium, Inc. (OGC) is a non-profit, international, voluntary consensus standards organization that is leading the development of standards for geospatial and location based services.
ISO 19115 ISO 19115:2003 defines the schema required for describing geographic information and services. It provides information about the identification, the extent, the quality, the spatial and temporal schema, spatial reference, and distribution of digital geographic data. It can be mapped to the IPY Metadata Profile. ISO/TS 19139:2007 provides the XML implementation for the schema.
Open Archival Information System Reference Model (PDF file, ~640 KB) The Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS) defines an OAIS as an archive, consisting of an organization of people and systems, that has accepted the responsibility to preserve information and make it available for a Designated Community. It provides a framework for the long-term preservation of data.

The Data Committee welcomes suggestions on other recommended standards. Please post suggestions with a rationale on the IPYDIS Discussion Forum for broad community input.

Other Resources

Many international projects and organizations are addressing the same issues of interoperable data exchange and long-term preservation. As such, the following resources may be useful for IPY participants. Please send other suggested resources to .

ICSU's Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) The mission of CODATA is to strengthen international science for the benefit of society by promoting improved scientific and technical data management and use. The IPY Data Policy and Management Subcommittee is a CODATA Task Group.
Marine Metadata Interoperability (MMI) Project The goal of MMI is to promote collaborative research in the marine science domain, by simplifying the incredibly complex world of metadata into specific, straightforward guidance. MMI hopes to encourage scientists and data managers at all levels to apply good metadata practices from the start of a project, by providing the best advice and resources for data management.
Global Earth Observations System of Systems (GEOSS) Standards Registry The GEOSS Standards and Interoperability Registers are repositories for information about standards and other interoperability arrangements that have relevance to the implementation and operation of GEOSS. You will find those standards that have been formally adopted for GEOSS, standards that are currently in use by GEOSS components, although not yet formally sanctioned, and standards that are potential candidates for use in GEOSS. The IPYDIS is one of the systems within GEOSS.
Electronic Geophysical Year The Electronic Geophysical Year, 2007-2008 (eGY) provides an opportunity for the international geoscientific community to focus effort on a 21st Century e-Science approach to issues of data stewardship: open access to data, data preservation, data discovery, data rescue, capacity building, and outreach. The development of Virtual Observatories and Laboratories is a central feature of eGY. eGY is a primary partner in the IPYDIS development effort.