CODATA Commission on Standards

Simon J D Cox1, Lesley Wyborn2, Marshall Ma3, Simon Hodson4, Geoffrey Boulton4

1CSIRO, Melbourne, VIC Australia,

2Australian National University, Canberra, ACT Australia,

3University of Idaho, Moscow, Id, USA,

4CODATA, Paris, France,|



CODATA, the Committee on Data for Science and Technology, 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 all fields of science and technology. CODATA has played a particular role in standardizing the values of some of the key physical constants – see

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.

Researchers across the science disciplines, the humanities, the social sciences need to create integrated data platforms that interoperate across discipline boundaries, and enable access to data by a diversity of users. The use of shared models and vocabularies makes data more easily re-useable, and thus more valuable.

The current landscape sees a variety of approaches to promulgating and maintaining community data models, formats, and vocabularies. These are generally organized within disciplines or groups of disciplines, with limited interoperability and linking between them. The emergence of the linked data paradigm, building on the key technologies of the World Wide Web, provides an opportunity to harmonize both tools and key content. The CODATA Commission on Standards aims to assist the science community to develop a coordinated approach, sharing best practices, and where necessary providing a platform for publication and governance of key cross-disciplinary ontologies and vocabularies.


Simon Cox is a CSIRO research scientist, who has been working on standards related to environmental information since the dawn of the web era, through the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative, Open Geospatial Consortium, ISO/TC 211, INSPIRE, Research Data Alliance, Australian Government Linked Data Working Group and W3C. He was awarded the 2006 OGC Gardels Medal and presented the 2013 AGU Leptoukh Lecture.

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