Who are we?CODATA, the Committee on Data for Science and Technology, is an interdisciplinary Scientific Committee of the International Council for Science (ICSU), was established 40 years ago.
CODATA works to improve the quality, reliability, management and accessibility of data of importance to all fields of science and technology. CODATA is a resource that provides scientists and engineers with access to international data activities for increased awareness, direct cooperation and new knowledge. CODATA was established in 1966 by ICSU to promote and encourage, on a world-wide basis, the compilation, evaluation and dissemination of reliable numerical data of importance to science and technology.
CODATA is concerned with all types of data resulting from experimental measurements, observations and calculations in every field of science and technology, including the physical sciences, biology, geology, astronomy, engineering, environmental science, ecology and others. Particular emphasis is given to data management problems common to different disciplines and to data used outside the field in which they were generated.
What are our objectives?
In short, the reason for CODATA is to help foster and advance science and technology through developing and sharing knowledge about data and the activities that work with data.
How do we
achieve these objectives?
The achievement of our objectives is an ongoing goal. Methods used to reach them are continually improving and evolving. It is important to emphasise that data related activities are not confined to a specific scientific discipline but they relate to data activities in every area of science and technology, from biology to global change, from the physical sciences to engineering. CODATA reaches out to different disciplines through its growing number of members within the CODATA family, each outlining their different data needs, sharing knowledge about their respective data activities and identifying common areas of interest.
CODATA has four primary activities, all in support of its fundamental aim of fostering worldwide cooperation in scientific and technical data:
The national committees of CODATA often organize data activities on a national level. Much of the most important work of CODATA, however, lies outside its formal activities in its providing a milieu in which data experts from different countries can interact, cooperate directly, develop bilateral collaborations outside of CODATA, and exchange ideas and knowledge.
A major driving force in the establishment of CODATA was the fact that the management of scientific data could no longer be left to the ad hoc efforts of a few dedicated individuals. The rapid expansion of scientific research which had occurred continuously since the end of World War II, brought with it a corresponding expansion in the amount of data generated. If this investment in research is to be fully utilized, better mechanisms are needed to evaluate, store, retrieve, and disseminate the data. While national organizations carry out some of these functions, CODATA is the international umbrella organization which encourages, coordinates, and tries to avoid duplication of such efforts.
CODATA is open to new projects, especially in this time of increasing importance of data because of computer-based modeling and the Internet. Today more and more data sources of unknown quality and origin are becoming easily available, via the World Wide Web. CODATA provides a home for international data experts needing to address data quality and data access issues to turn the Information Revolution into a positive force for the future. Today's data become the products and processes of tomorrow. CODATA is prepared to help science and technology achieve a better tomorrow through better data today.