Data stewardship



Data stewardship is a central objective of PAGES. Data stewardship activities are part of the entire lifecycle of research, from production to archival of data, with the goal of providing future data users with constant high-quality and easily accessible data.

Beginning with its early community synthesis products, PAGES has developed a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities in research that involves data discovery, synthesis, and analysis. Building on this experience, PAGES continues to facilitate the development of data-intensive synthesis products, and promotes data stewardship within its constituency. Several databases have been developed and used widely, and many others are under construction.

PAGES also works with the NOAA Paleoclimatology (World Data Service for Paleoclimatology) and other primary paleodata archives to develop data-product services and ensure long-term archiving of data.

Many international initiatives have articulated best practices for data stewardship, focusing on the intelligent reuse of data. PAGES has endorsed the new international accord on “Open data in a big data world,” an outcome of “Science International 2015,” which represents the global scientific community. The Accord proposes fundamental principles for open data and it outlines the responsibilities of scientific professional organizations and their constituents.


Paleoscience is particularly in need of such initiatives on Data Stewardship, because of its continually evolving array of proxy-data types and its global scope with unique regional contexts and calibration issues. Considering the current international attention on big data and open data, this timely integrative activity deserves major effort across PAGES components.

At the same time, we recognize the enormity of issues involving the production, management and reuse of the paleo community’s diverse data types. The Data Stewardship integrative activity will develop sets of best practice for data standards, archiving, and access, by soliciting broad input from the international community of experts and engaging the PAGES working groups into this coordinated activity.

The focused attention of PAGES to bottom-up community input on these issues will provide leverage to help EarthCube advance its mission of creating a new-generation data platform, and in turn transforming the activities of the international community into data-discovery science.


We will concentrate on activities that can be accomplished in a relatively short time by focusing on priorities and concrete activities that add value to bottom-up efforts already in progress.

- How to better integrate data stewardship into working group design and reporting?
- How to facilitate the development of paleodata standards?
- How to promote the intelligent reuse of new and existing paleodata?
- How to develop standardized terminologies and sufficient metadata to favor reliable interpretation, to facilitate updates and to support reuse of the paleodata?
- The Data Stewardship integrative activity will translate existing principles into useful and succinct guidelines, and will vet them across the paleoscience community prior to posting on the PAGES website.

Structure and people

The Data Stewardship integrative activity will be organized around a coordination team (task force). The data stewardship coordination team will comprise representatives from PAGES working groups engaged in major data-related activities, plus liaisons of the SSC, other data stewardship initiatives, and public paleodata archives. The team will be responsible for implementing the specific goals of the Data Stewardship integrative activity.


1. Development of a community standard for paleoclimate data and metadata.

In collaboration with the EarthCube-supported LinkedEarth project, this activity promotes the development of a community standard for paleoclimate data and metadata. The Workshop on Paleo Data Standards (22-23 June 2016, Boulder, USA; read workshop report) initiated a process of community engagement and feedback elicitation. Archive-centric working groups will elaborate and discuss the components of a data standard for their specific field. These will be reviewed by the community, and eventually a vote will be carried out to ratify the proposed standard, and presented in a peer-reviewed publication.
Project website:
Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Darrell Kaufman (Northern Arizona University, USA)
Michal Kucera (University of Bremen, Germany)
Lucien von Gunten (PAGES IPO, Switzerland)

PAGES Magazine workshop report

> Paleoclimate data standards (vol.24, no.1)


Image credit: Courtesy of Stuart Miles at