Press release: NCEAS to host the new NSF Arctic Data Center at UC Santa Barbara with Partners NCEI and DataONE

aurora-logoThe National Science Foundation has made a 5-year, $5.9 million award to a national partnership, led by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California Santa Barbara, to develop and curate the NSF Arctic Data Center, a new archive for Arctic scientific data as well as other related research documents.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and the NSF-funded Data Observation Network for Earth (DataONE) are partners in the Arctic Data Center cooperative agreement between NSF and NCEAS.

“NOAA has active and growing interests in the Arctic” said Dr. Eric Kihn, director, NCEI’s Center for Coasts, Oceans, and Geophysics, adding “NCEI is pleased to leverage our existing scientific data stewardship infrastructure and expertise to support this effort to preserve and make available the Nation’s extensive investments in Arctic observations and information”.

When the new archive is launched later this month, it will serve as the NSF Arctic research community’s primary repository for data preservation and data discovery.

“The NSF Arctic Data Center will provide the data storage, curation, and discovery features needed to support NSF’s Arctic science community, and we will be actively engaging researchers to determine how to improve support for open, reproducible science for the Arctic,” said Matthew Jones, director of informatics research and development at NCEAS and principal investigator for the NSF award. “The NSF Arctic Data Center will be able to archive not just data, but other research products such as software, workflows, and provenance information about the entire research process.”

“NSF is pleased to support NCEAS and its partner organizations in this effort to make Arctic data available to researchers across the world.  This is particularly important now because of the rapid pace of Arctic environmental change,” said Marc Stieglitz, NSF Arctic natural science program manager. “This new facility will help researchers study Arctic change and inform societal decision-making”

NSF has required data-management planning as part of research proposals since 2011.

Jones added that NSF “has been forward-thinking in not only providing guidance for their investigators to implement data-management planning but also in providing a repository explicitly for preserving arctic research data that are valuable in addressing social and environmental issues.”

“This is a welcome advance for open data and a great benefit to the Arctic research community,” he added. The NSF Arctic Data Center will support this community with the release of a user-friendly, data-sharing platform built on an open-source search application developed at NCEAS, and used by multiple repositories and networks, including the KNB Data Repository, DataONE, and the Gulf of Alaska Data Portal.”

The new NSF Arctic Data Center interface will allow users to search for data from the extensive arctic data collection using filters, such as the name of data creator, year, identifier, taxa, location and keywords, and others. The “discovery interface” will also provide a map-based overview of the spatial distribution of data sets and allow users to zoom and pan to specific locations of interest, which will be helpful in locating historical data in specific regions.

Authors will be able to seamlessly upload and share their data from their desktop, contributing associated metadata and assigning a Digital Object Identifier so that their data are easily citable. The NSF Arctic Data Center team will also continue to support data-management planning and access to Arctic data publications, in addition to user-support services.

“An extensive data-management and open-science training program for Arctic researchers will launch late in the first year of the program” indicated Amber Budden, project co-PI and director for community engagement and outreach at DataONE. “This program will target early career and underrepresented groups”.

A webinar to introduce the NSF Arctic Data Center system to the Arctic research community is scheduled for April 21st. Registration information may be found at the NSF Arctic Data Center website (

Full details about the NSF Arctic Data Center partners, leadership and steering committee may also be found on the NSF Arctic Data Center website (

The new archive will succeed the extensive Arctic data collection curated by the Advanced Cooperative Arctic Data and Information Service (ACADIS), which is managed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Snow and Ice Data Center. A brief history of ACADIS and NSF-funded active data preservation can be found at


About the Partners

Established in 1995, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) is a research center of the University of California, Santa Barbara and was the first national synthesis center of its kind. NCEAS has significantly altered the way ecological science is conducted, towards being more collaborative, open, integrative, relevant, and technologically informed. Different from the scientific tradition of solitary lab or fieldwork, NCEAS fosters collaborative synthesis research – assembling interdisciplinary teams to distill existing data, ideas, theories, or methods drawn from many sources, across multiple fields of inquiry, to accelerate the generation of new scientific knowledge at a broad scale.

NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) are responsible for hosting and providing access to one of the most significant archives on earth, with comprehensive oceanic, atmospheric, and geophysical data. From the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun and from million-year-old tree rings to near real-time satellite images, NCEI is the Nation’s leading authority for environmental information. NCEI was formed in 2015 as the merger of the former NOAA National Oceanographic Data Center, National Climatic Data Center, and National Geophysical Data Center.

DataONE (Data Observation Network for Earth) is an NSF DataNet project which is developing a distributed framework and sustainable cyberinfrastructure that meets the needs of science and society for open, persistent, robust, and secure access to well-described and easily discovered Earth observational data.