While the National Science Foundation (NSF) Arctic Data Center has served as the repository of record for NSF-funded Arctic data since 2016, it builds upon a long history of NSF and community investments in data preservation, starting first with the Cooperative Arctic Data and Information Service (CADIS) in the International Polar Year (2007), and continuing with the Advanced Cooperative Arctic Data and Information Service (ACADIS), which expanded its mission.

ACADIS History


From 2011 to 2016, the ACADIS data management program supported all NSF Division of Polar Programs, Arctic Section-funded investigators via a strong collaboration among the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) and Computational Information Systems Laboratory (CISL), the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), as well as the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Unidata Program (Unidata). The team was made up of a diverse group of people with specific data management expertise and experience handling both Arctic and other cryospheric datasets.

The ACADIS long term vision, developed over 8+ years, was to provide sustainable data management, data stewardship services, and related leadership for the NSF Arctic research community. This was accomplished through open data sharing, adherence to community best practices and standards, capitalizing on appropriate evolving technologies, community support, and community engagement. ACADIS leveraged other pertinent projects, using emerging technologies and participating in emerging cyberinfrastructure initiatives.

The roots of ACADIS came from the needs expressed in the Arctic Observing Network (AON) design to develop and implement a comprehensive data management strategy. This was an important component of NSF’s contribution to the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008. CADIS, initiated in 2007 and involving NCAR, NSIDC, and UCAR, was designed to facilitate data discovery and use by encouraging the standardization and exchange of metadata through an Information Technology (IT) structure friendly to web services and other applications.

It was concluded early on that the community also needed a repository for data collected during AON.  NCAR, NSIDC, and UCAR responded to this need by implementing the CADIS system within one year of initial AON start to collect both AON data and metadata.  A key step was to educate the investigator community about the need to provide standardized metadata and documentation to a long-term archive in addition to the dataset itself.

Realizing that the needs addressed by CADIS extended beyond AON, the CADIS collaborators submitted a proposal to expand services to support all Arctic investigators submitting data to NSF’s Office of Polar Programs.  2016 brought the conclusion of more than 4 years of support through ACADIS.

A hallmark of ACADIS was providing a high level of support to its user community. ACADIS established automated (email and web) interfaces and telephone access to its support service team.  It also implemented automated web-based submission tools for data, metadata, and documentation. Improvements were made to these services as required or as suggested from the community.

The ACADIS data legacy includes access to more than 3500 datasets, including ISO19115 standard metadata and documentation for each dataset. ACADIS’ legacy data archive comes from more than 550 contributing investigators representing more than 200 NSF grant awardees. One of the most important and flexible components of the ACADIS system was the ability to accept data in a variety of formats (in excess of 60) representing more than 50 scientific disciplines. The ACADIS team made a priority of participating in a variety of national and international meetings, workshops, and targeted community gatherings (70 from 2014-2016) to keep the Arctic community informed about the data management support and training afforded through ACADIS.

ACADIS offered support services to the community to meet specific needs as well, including customized assistance to Arctic field projects like specific web sites to hold the historical documentation (reports, logs, and other project specific information) from these deployments.

Special attention was paid to the variety of publications coming from the NSF Arctic science community research results utilizing data under ACADIS management. At the time of transition in 2016, ACADIS had logged more than 620 references including research publications, books, proceedings and graduate school theses and dissertations. In the final analysis, these publications, combined with the data used to generate the results, is the remarkable legacy of Arctic research for more than a decade. The ACADIS team has been honored to support the Arctic community for this period of time.