Open access to data makes it easier to validate and assess findings, and it facilitates the use of data in new ways, for instance through a more interdisciplinary approach. Furthermore, open access to research data reduces duplication of effort, increases efficiency and reduces the environmental impact of research activities. 

The research strategy for Ny-Ålesund stresses the importance of making research data openly accessible when no legitimate considerations prevent its accessibility, or “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”. 

Providing strong metadata, i.e. information about collection, delineation, definition, and other factors relevant for further use, makes it easier to find and interpret data. Researchers working in Svalbard are strongly encouraged to apply standardised methods and to share metadata in a way that makes data easier to use, ideally in line with the FAIR principles, i.e. being Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. The concept interoperable entails that both data and metadata must be machine-readable and that a consistent terminology is used.

The SIOS consortium has developed a data policy that is consistent with international principles including requirements for the availability and quality of metadata. The members of SIOS – many of them active in Ny-Ålesund – are expected to comply with these principles. The research strategy for Ny-Ålesund strongly encourages the establishing of standardised metadata requirements for all research in Ny-Ålesund.

Contributions to international networks

Such a development would be a continuation and further development of what is already a long held practice in Ny-Ålesund – the extensive contribution to international programmes and networks: