“Earth and space science data are a world heritage, and an essential part of the science ecosystem. All players in the science ecosystem—researchers, repositories, publishers, funders, institutions, etc.—should work to ensure that relevant scientific evidence is processed, shared, and used ethically, and is available, preserved, documented, and fairly credited. To achieve this legacy, all AGU members and stakeholders must have a clear understanding of the culture of responsible research, and take action to support, enable, and nurture that culture.
Preserving data as a world heritage requires a culture of data use, sharing, curation, and attribution that is equitable, accessible, and ethical, all of which are essential for scientific research to be transparent, trusted, and valued. Data and other research artefacts, such as physical samples, software, models, methods, and algorithms, are all part of the science ecosystem and essential for research. Data and other research artefacts must be discoverable, accessible, verifiable, trustworthy, and usable, and those responsible for their acquisition or creation should receive due credit for their contribution to scientific advancement. Trustworthy, robust, verifiable, reproducible, and open science is our responsibility and legacy for future generations. To achieve this legacy, policy makers, AGU members, and other stakeholders must recognize that the science ecosystem should be flexible enough to adapt to a changing landscape of research practices, technology innovation, and demonstrations of impact. They must also have a clear understanding of the culture of responsible research, and take action to support, enable, and nurture that culture. This statement, in alignment with other AGU position statements, helps form the foundation to support data as a world heritage.
I. Championing Open and Transparent Data
Robust, verifiable, and reproducible science requires that evidence behind an assertion be accessible for evaluation. Researchers have a responsibility to collect, develop, and share this evidence in an ethical manner, that is as open and transparent as possible. Most Earth and space science data can and should be openly available except in cases where human subjects are involved, where other legal restrictions apply, or where data release could cause harm, (e.g. where data could lead to identification of specific people, or could publicly reveal locations of endangered species). Even where data are not publicly available, transparency of collection and processing methods, data quality, inherent assumptions, and known sources of bias is essential. Building transparency and ethical behavior into the entire science ecosystem, even as technology and scientific practice evolves, is a vital component of responsible research.
Data and other research artefacts are useful to the broader scientific community only insofar as they can be shared, examined, and reused. Working within discipline communities to develop, share, and adopt best practices, standards, clear documentation and appropriate licensing will facilitate sharing and interoperability. …
Statement adopted by the American Geophysical Union 29 May 1997; Reaffirmed May 2001, May 2005, May 2006; Revised and Reaffirmed May 2009, February 2012, September 2015; November 2019.”