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Recommendations on the direction of IODE in the next decade

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The EMOD-network proposed a number of key recommendations for EMODnet, IODE and the global ocean data ecosystem in the context of the UN Ocean Decade.

Recommendations on the direction of IODE in the next decade, from the perspective of the EU long-term marine data service EMODnet, taking into consideration the objectives of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

In the next decade:

  • IODE should continue as an authority on international ocean data and information stewardship towards global interoperability and promoting free and open access to ocean data so that all nations and regions have access to open and free marine environmental and human activities data, wherever it is hosted around the world;
  • IODE should facilitate a regulation framework to avoid local data restriction policy and continue to promote open unrestricted access to ocean data for the public good; this could be done by promoting the widespread adoption of an Open Data License for data publishing (for example, the Creative Commons 4.0) using the Ocean Decade momentum as leverage;
  • The IODE should continue to provide a platform where representatives of national, regional and wider marine data infrastructures, institutes and services can meet in Committees and exchange their achievements, best practices and challenges, this way informing major players and giving opportunities for tuning of standards and services, seeking global interoperability and having discovery and access to a major part of all collected data in a FAIR and machine actionable way;
  • IODE should further strengthen collaborations with regional (federated) data services e.g., EMODnet, to deliver global interoperability of marine data
    • This can be achieved by following the systems of systems approach whereby regions develop their infrastructures and networks of actors for increasing the provision, sharing and use of data and data products, such that done in Europe through EMODnet and Copernicus Marine, and various Research Infrastructures which provide major support to engage national actors.
    • In addition, the IODE could also promote the idea of creating pools of actionable data drawing from the distributed repositories bound by an interoperable data sharing framework (e.g. synchronized with regional data services).
  • IODE should continue it Ocean Best Practices (OBPS) approach as this provides an increasing knowledge base about standards and best practices in use, which is supportive of making data and services more FAIR to users by giving more background documentation on data, but also as contributing to infrastructure developers to become more aware and educated about each other’s approaches and making use of this knowledge for tuning their services;
  • IODE could further extend its role in data diplomacy to work strategically with projects and initiatives funded to strengthen partnerships between continents and regions e.g., the EU-China EMOD-PACE project so that outputs from such projects can have a greater impact and legacy not only for the countries directly involved but also for larger regions e.g., Asia;
  • IODE could continue its great work towards global adoption and concrete delivery of the Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR) data principles, extending these also to the Transparency, Responsibility, User focus, Sustainability and Technology (TRUST) and Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsibility and Ethics (CARE) principles;
  • IODE should continue its promotion and dissemination activities in the area of ocean data and information stewardship, including organising International Conferences where latest developments in ocean and marine data management and added-value applications can be presented and shared with a large and global community, again stimulating tuning and working towards global interoperability;
  • IODE should continue to play a central role in supporting the development and implementation of the Decade of the Oceans Data Vision, increasing the overall public awareness of the importance of healthy oceans, assist in the mobilization of key regional actors to undertake more efforts and more investments and engage at various levels from citizens and students to governments, having a major impact on science, and society as a whole; IODE should develop a sustained framework to support pilots and actions around common action areas related to ocean data in the context of the UN Ocean Decade to mobilise the international community.
  • IODE could strengthen partnerships with Ocean Literacy efforts to increase the societal understanding and valuation of the Ocean and its immense societal benefits e.g., through wider society web-based mapping and data visualization applications such as the European Atlas of the Seas to provide more international marine data from the global Ocean that can be used for outreach, education and ocean literacy purposes e.g., through storytelling, teaching resource development and ocean literacy activities;
  • IODE should develop more concrete partnerships with EMODnet and experts in marine data service worldwide to further enhance the OceanTeacher Global Academy training and Capacity Building with more knowledge transfer, training and demonstrations on existing marine data services and the applications of use cases of such marine data, to foster the a more transparent and accessible ocean data for all, and to stimulate the use and uptake of marine data for research, policy, blue economy and wider society applications. IODE should also continue to engage and develop specific capacity building activities for developing regions, interacting with achievements and adopting / adapting deliverables from the more developed regions, in order to lift the level on a global scale. This could be done where possible/relevant in the framework of the Ocean Decade and in support of the Ocean Decade Actions.
  • IODE might benefit from further reviewing its mode of operation to combine high level data diplomacy with stimulation and involvement more hands-on collaborative projects (such as the infohub), reduce bureaucracy and overly formal communication, and modernize towards a more flexible operation, embracing current technologies and approaches and ability to develop strategy as well as drive the implementation via concrete projects.

Data scope and focus 

  • IODE should broaden the parameters included in ocean data and information stewardship to include not only marine environmental parameters but also data and information of human activities at sea e.g., blue economy operations and socio-economic data related to the sea;
  • IODE should assist in raising attention to facilitate accessibly and interoperability of different data types and unlocking key data to fill critical information and knowledge gaps and meet decision making requirements in line with the Ocean Decade key Challenges (e.g. on coastal adaptation, hazards, pollution, etc.); for example, “coastal defence” is not just about parameters on sea-level change itself but also about geological parameters such as coastal type and resilience. Coastal protection is better implemented if sufficient and adequate such data are available for inclusion in data products and information outputs.


  • EMODnet will further increase its key contribution as a EU focal point to the OceanInfoHub, in the context of EMODnet for global activities and the EMODnet Ocean Decade Data Coordination Platform and its coordination group, working towards status of Implementing Partner;
  • We refer to “IOC/IODE Inter-sessional Working Group to propose a Strategy on Ocean Data and Information Stewardship for the UN Ocean Decade (IWG-SODIS).” Providing key recommendations and principles for supporting the Data Vision under the Decade.