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International Data Policy Committee

The CODATA International Data Policy Committee (IDPC) works with CODATA members and provides expert input on the development and implementation of data policies to a range of international initiatives.


The International Data Policy Committee in CODATA’s Strategy

CODATA has a distinctive role in contributing to the developments needed if the international science community and its national components are effectively to exploit the data revolution. CODATA’s strategy currently has three components: data policy, data science, and data education:

Data Policy: Supporting implementation of data principles and practices

Data Science: Addressing the frontiers of data science

Data Education: Capacity building (particularly in low-and-middle income countries – LMICs)

The CODATA Data Policy Committee is one of the key instruments by which CODATA pursues its mission of promoting effective data policy and practice. A subsidiary task is to support the other strategic objectives of CODATA, especially its data education mission. 

Terms of Reference

The CODATA Data Policy Committee is an international expert body that:

  • Takes a leadership role in developing and advancing CODATA’s Open Research Data agenda at a national and international level, in support of the organization’s strategy;
  • Encourages the adoption and implementation of open data policies, particularly in the context of the International Science Council (ISC)-sponsored international collaborative research programmes; and
  • Provides expert advice to CODATA members and partners on the development, adoption, and implementation of open data policies and related activities.


The development of policies promoting open data for research has been a longstanding and prominent feature of CODATA activity. In recent years, this has occurred through the contribution to the OECD’s Principles and Guidelines for Access to Research Data from Public Funding and the leadership role taken in the GEO Data Sharing Working Group. In order to ensure greater continuity and focus for these core activities – and to amplify CODATA’s voice in these matters – the CODATA Strategic Plan 2013-18 identified the Data Policy Committee as the principal means by which CODATA should define an international Open Data policy agenda for research. CODATA’s parent body, the International Science Council (the ISC – formerly ICSU), adopted at its 2014 General Assembly a statement that, inter alia, endorses the OECD Principles and Guidelines. The Science International Accord on Open Data in a Big Data World, which CODATA also took the lead on drafting, recognizes both the benefits that accrue to science through open data regimes and the responsibility of scientists to make data available through appropriate means and minimal delay.

Projects of the Data Policy Committee

The Committee is engaged in a number of substantive and structural initiatives in the research data policy arena, either in a lead or supportive role. They are listed below, but the reader is encouraged to click on the links for further details. These projects are either carried out by the full Committee or by subgroups of its members. The Committee and its subgroups hold monthly conference calls and occasional face-to-face meetings to confer on the agenda and receive updates about its activities. Readers are invited to send their enquiries and suggestions to the Committee Chair, Mark Leggott at: The Committee’s full membership list is available at:

The University of Arizona – CODATA Center of Excellence in Data for Society, at The University of Arizona.

A center for the study of the role of research data in society at an international level is being formed in collaboration with CODATA and its Data Policy Committee. More detailed background information will be available soon.

The Upstream-Downstream Subgroup

This subgroup of the Data Policy Committee is investigating the underlying issues in the relationships of not-for-profit research data and commercial innovation. This subgroup is described in greater detail here.

The Data Diplomacy Subgroup

The Data Policy Committee has formed a subgroup to examine topics related to the use of factual data in the diplomatic process. This subgroup is described in greater detail here.

Update of the CODATA white paper, Current Best Practice of Research Data Management Policies

The Data Policy Committee is revising and updating this report by Simon Hodson and Laura Molloy and published in 2015. That 2015 report is available at:

Code of Conduct on Research Data Ethics and Integrity

The Data Policy Committee is examining the development of an international Code of Conduct specifically for ensuring the ethical handling and integrity of research data. Such a Code of Conduct would be produced by several organizations that work on these issues. A presentation of this topic was given to the Data Policy Committee by Heidi Laine in November 2018 and is available here.

International Workshop on Implementing Open Research Data Policy and Practice in China, Beijing, 19-20 September 2019

The Data Policy Committee is jointly organizing with CODATA China this high-level meeting (by invitation only), which will review the implementation of the China’s State Council law “Measures for Managing Scientific Data” focusing on open research data. A related Conference is being organized by China CODATA and the international CODATA on 19-20 September 2019 in Beijing to highlight these and other research data themes. Detailed background information about this workshop and conference will be available soon.

20-Year Review of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)

CODATA has been commissioned to undertake a follow-up of the 2005 GBIF Review, for which it was also the lead consultant. Several members of the Data Policy Committee are members of the current 20-year Review, including the two lead consultants and the full Committee will serve as reviewers of the report. A summary of the project is available here.

Current Best Practice for Research Data Management Policies

The Report on Current Best Practice for Research Data Management Policies was commissioned from CODATA by the Danish e-Infrastructure Cooperation and the Danish Digital Library.  Submitted in May 2014 it surveys current best practice and, by identifying key elements, provides a framework for the development of data policies: