As a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU) World Data System (WDS), NSIDC helps to support these WDS goals:
- Enable universal and equitable access to quality-assured scientific data, data services, products and information
- Ensure long term data stewardship
- Foster compliance to agreed-upon data standards and conventions
- Provide mechanisms to facilitate and improve access to data and data products
WDS strives to become a worldwide community of excellence for scientific data, with searchable common data directories and catalogs, which ensures the long-term stewardship and provision of quality-assessed data and data services to the international science community.
The ICSU WDS replaces the former World Data Centers (WDC), a transition from existing stand-alone services to a common globally interoperable distributed data system that incorporates emerging technologies and new scientific data activities. NSIDC had been a member of the WDC system since 1976.