Data Management Assessment Program


AGU’s position statement on data affirms that “Earth and space sciences data are a world heritage. Properly documented, credited, and preserved, they will help future scientists understand the Earth, planetary, and heliophysics systems.”

» Importance of Preserving Data
» The Challenges in Preserving Data
» Improving and Advancing Data
» Reasons to Participate in a Data Management Assessment
» The Power of an AGU Data Management Assessment

» Contact Us

Importance of Preserving Data
Earth and space science data are critical to scientific advancement and our understanding of how natural systems and phenomena change over time. These data should be openly accessible and preserved for reuse into the future.

AGU is committed to data stewardship and preservation through its publication guidelines
and policies. AGU adopted a Data Position statement that defined the importance of data in scientific research and emphasized their value in contributing to scientific advances that positively impact society. As a member of the scientific publishing community, AGU is committed to working with other scientific journals to adopt best practices concerning data through the Coalition on Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Science ( AGU is working with organizations such as the National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) and Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) to promote data management best practices across the full research data lifecycle.

The Challenges

Data collection and analysis is a cornerstone of scientific research yet, no universal standards exist for the curation and preservation of Earth and space science data that make them readily accessible to inform other scientists or future research. Challenges include:

  • Earth and space science data are created in large amounts every day. Each year that volume increases exponentially.
  • Data are diverse and not all scientific domains have a repository that supports their specific requirements. Data can include physical samples, perishable field observation data, and various forms of digital information.
  • Data now required to be released at publication and stored in most repositories is usually processed. The raw data, or interim data products may also be needed for other scientists to understand or reproduce the science.
  • The quality and completeness of metadata can vary because not all repositories follow the same standards. Determining if existing data can be reused or repurposed for new research requires complete, consistent and accurate metadata.
  • Data are processed and analyzed through workflows, algorithms, software, and models. To fully understand data and reproduce research, these methods and tools need to also be curated and preserved.
  • Few repositories have sustainable funding.
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Improving and Advancing Data

How do we as a community ensure the long-term preservation of all Earth and space science data? Cultural changes that recognize the role data managers play in academia and research, community-backed guidelines, and technical tools are needed to ensure data is open, accessible, and understood.

To address these challenges, AGU has developed the Data Management Assessment Program, which helps data repositories, large and small, domain specific to general, use best practices to assess and improve their data management practices.

This program provides consulting, workshops, and assessments by certified experts in data management using the rich CMMI® Institute Data Management Maturity (DMM)SM framework and was adapted by AGU to meet the specific needs of the Earth and space sciences. Our experts help repositories and institutions understand leading practices for data management and storage and identifies steps for improvement and adhering to these practices through a road map of initiatives customized for the organization on the basis of their current capability and data management objectives.

Reasons to Participate in a Data Management Assessment

  • Improve data quality and consistency and facilitate reuse in the data lifecycle
  • Evaluate data management plans and processes against the framework to understand and develop best practices that ensure an institution or repository’s data is accessible, discoverable, understood, and reusable
  • Ensure that processes are sustainable, scalable, and consistent
  • Help the research community meet emerging/expanding guidelines from funders and government requirements on reproducibility and open data
  • Elevate and align good data governance across an organization
  • Speed the advancement of science through better accessibility and reusability of data
  • Improve repeatability in the research processes and outputs

The Power of an AGU Data Management Assessment

  • Establishes an objective baseline of data management practices that will drive existing and future process improvement activities
  • Identifies strategic initiatives in the form of a road map to strengthen the data management program
  • Identifies areas for improved efficiency and sustainability based on the goals of the organization
  • Develops an understanding of the current strengths and challenges of data management practices and work products
  • Provides assessment attendees with an understanding of data management best practices so that they can employ this knowledge in their daily activities

Contact Us
The AGU Data Management Assessment Program can help provide a detailed path for repositories to improve in data management, organizational resilience, and achievement of objectives such as trustworthy digital repository certifications (DSA-WDS, ISO 16363).

To discuss how an AGU Data Management Assessment can help you successfully meet your data management objectives, contact Shelley Stall, Director, Data Programs at, or follow her on Twitter @shelleystall.