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NCEI-Oceans Data Policy

A basic tenet of environmental data management at NOAA is full and open data access. As the nation's Archive for ocean data and information, the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) is committed to full and open data access in support of its community of Data Producers and Data Consumers. We will ensure that archived data are fully and openly available, to the extent permitted by law and subject to valid privacy, confidentiality, security, or other restrictions.

NCEI-Oceans archives ocean data in collaboration with numerous international and national organizations whose goal is to increase the accessibility of data worldwide. This includes the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), the Committee on Earth Observing Satellites (CEOS), the International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), and the World Data System (WDS) of the International Council of Science (ICSU), as well as other international bodies dedicated to the exchange and open-access of ocean- and climate-related data.

Our data access policies are generally consistent with the policies of these international and national bodies. Most data archived here are, and will continue to be fully accessible in a timely manner through our portals and standards-based web services.

As acknowledged in NOAA Administrative Order 212-15, some collections of data archived here may have specific access constraints that are mutually agreed upon and documented by the Data Producer / Data Provider and us. Data that have access limitations are considered exceptions to our 'full and open data access' policy. All exceptions to this policy must meet the following requirements.

Written approval from our Director to accept the data collection for inclusion in the archival holdings. Documentation that identifies

  • the reason(s) for limiting access to a specific data collection, including the specific authority (e.g., NSF Policy) that requires or permits access limitations,
  • conditions, if any, that allow us to provide access to the data collection and the duration (time period) during which access to the data collection is limited.

Our staff will not author a paper, poster, oral presentations, or other scientific document unless the data described in the paper, etc., have been made public and are accessible to all users. "Accessible to all users" means that data can be downloaded from our archives via a standard web service.