The conduct of science in Antarctica is the cornerstone of the Antarctic Treaty System.
Antarctic Science is:
- Globally relevant
- Politically important
The Antarctic Treaty (section III.1.c) says, "Scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available."
SCAR and the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes (COMNAP) established the Joint Committee on Antarctic Data Management (JCADM) in 1997 to manage Antarctic data. In December 2008 the formal linkage with COMNAP ceased and JCADM became the Standing Committee on Antarctic Data Management from January 2009.
SCADM helps facilitate co-operation between scientists and nations with regard to scientific data. It advises on the development of the Antarctic Data Management System (formerly the Antarctic Data Directory System) and played a major role in the International Polar Year data system (IPYDIS) up to 2009.
Members of SCADM are usually managers of the National Antarctic Data Centres (NADCs) or a relevant national contact.
SCADM meets annually, with every second meeting in conjunction with the SCAR Open Science Conference and Meetings. SCADM's responsibilities include:
- Promotion of Antarctic data management
- Providing guidance to the Antarctic Metadata Directory host
- Establishing Antarctic data management policies and priorities
- The recruitment of National Antarctic Data Centres (NADCs)
- Encouraging scientists to submit metadata to the Antarctic Master Directory
- Reporting to SCAR on Antarctic data management issues
SCAR provides funding to support the Antarctic Metadata Directory (AMD), hosted by the Global Change Master Directory (GCMD). The GCMD is expected to provide support to the NADCs. NADCs are funded at a national level.
In 1985, ATCM Recommendation X111-5 asked SCAR for advice to improve the comparability and accessibility of Antarctic data.
In 1989, SCAR established the ad hoc Committee on the Coordination of Antarctic Data (CCAD). ATCM Recommendation XV-1 6 (1989) then suggested that governments assist the work of the CCAD and the development of an Antarctic scientific data directory.
The SCAR-COMNAP ad hoc Planning Group on Antarctic Data Management was established at XXII SCAR in June 1992 to replace the CCAD. The terms of reference for the Planning Group included:
- Coordination and management of Antarctic data
- Considering SCAR's programmes and requirements under the ATS, especially with respect to the Protocol on Environmental Protection
In 1992, the Group proposed the development of an Antarctic Data Directory System - NADCs linked to the AMD. The AMD would be hosted by the GCMD. The recommendations were accepted by the Antarctic Treaty Meeting in 1992 and by the SCAR and COMNAP executives in 1993.
In 1997, the Joint Committee on Antarctic Data Management (JCADM) replaced the Planning Group. Formal links with COMNAP ceased in January 2009 and JCADM became a SCAR Standing Committee and was thus renamed the Standing Comittee on Antarctic Data Management (SCADM).
The Terms of Reference for SCADM are:
To promote long-term preservation and accessibility of data relating to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in sustainable repositories,
To assist in establishing Antarctic data management policies, priorities and best practices,
To support the establishment and ongoing work of National Antarctic Data Centres, in accordance with ATCM XXII Resolution 4.1 (1998),
To encourage submission of metadata and data to the Antarctic Data Management System,
To further improve and populate the Antarctic Metadata Directory and provide guidance to the AMD host,
To provide linkages to other relevant data management systems and thereby enhance the ADMS,
In partnership with SCAGI, to work with SSGs, COMNAP, CEP and the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat to identify and develop fundamental datasets of value to the Antarctic Community.