February 14, 1995

I am pleased to release "The U.S. Global Change Data and Information System (GCDIS) Implementation Plan," a report of the Subcommittee on Global Change Research.

The importance of effective management of data and information on global change has been highlighted by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. Global change research activities generate and require massive amounts of highly diverse data and information. These data and information are needed to document change, to improve understanding of global change processes, and to carry out integrated assessments of impacts on human affairs. Because global change issues are so broad, including human and natural forcing factors, ecological change, biodiversity, human interactions, and comprehensive assessments, a data and information management challenge is to archive, preserve, and make data available in a useful form for researchers and other stakeholders. To help meet this requirement, a coordinated interagency Global Change Data and Information System (GCDIS) is being initiated.

GCDIS coordination is between all the applicable elements of the federal government as well as with GCDIS's national and international user communities. This user community spans the full range from K-12 educators to senior researchers and from governmental to non-governmental policy makers to public interest, commercial, and industrial organizations.

The conceptual design for GCDIS has been developed through a number of National Academy of Sciences studies, U.S. Global Change Research Program reports, national data policy principles adopted in 1991, and the 1992 GCDIS program plan that commits the agencies to its establishment. Building upon these accomplishments, this GCDIS Implementation Plan describes the structure the agencies will use to provide the multifaceted coordination required to meet the needs of the broad spectrum of GCDIS users.

I especially want to highlight the leadership of the Interagency Working Group on Data Management for Global Change (IWGDMGC) for developing and drafting this implementation plan. Additionally, this Plan required the active help and support of all the participating agencies and of the Committee on Geophysical and Environmental Data of the National Academy of Sciences.


John H. Gibbons
Assistant to the President for Science and Technology

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