Data Management

A brief overview of CIOOS standards and data management principles is outlined below. To learn more about submitting data to CIOOS Atlantic, see our Contribute page.

CIOOS Standards

CIOOS has developed a metadata profile modified from ISO 19115-2:2019 and ISO 19157:2013, which all ocean data in CIOOS Atlantic must follow. These standards were selected to ensure interoperability with the national and international ocean data community, including the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). This profile includes required, recommended, and optional fields that provide users with a basic understanding of the dataset.

Metadata may be hosted on CIOOS Atlantic servers, or harvested from remote servers.

Data Mangement Principles

An important goal of CIOOS is to promote open access and reuse of ocean data. As such, CIOOS accepts only non-sensitive open (or soon-to-be-open) marine data that follow the FAIR, CARE, and OCAP data principles. 

FAIR Principles

The FAIR data principles include:

  • Findable: Data and supplementary materials have sufficiently rich metadata and a unique and persistent identifier.
  • Accessible: Metadata and data are understandable to humans and machines. Data is deposited in a trusted repository.
  • Interoperable: Metadata uses a formal, accessible, shared, and broadly applicable language for knowledge representation.
  • Reusable: Data have clear usage licenses and provide accurate information on provenance.

CARE Principles

The CARE data principles include: 

  • Collective benefit: Data ecosystems shall be designed and function in ways that enable Indigenous Peoples to derive benefit from the data.
  • Authority to Control: Indigenous Peoples’ rights and interests in Indigenous data must be recognised and their authority to control such data be empowered. Indigenous data governance enables Indigenous Peoples and governing bodies to determine how Indigenous Peoples, as well as Indigenous lands, territories, resources, knowledges and geographical indicators, are represented and identified within data.
  • Responsibility: Those working with Indigenous data have a responsibility to share how those data are used to support Indigenous Peoples’ self-determination and collective benefit. Accountability requires meaningful and openly available evidence of these efforts and the benefits accruing to Indigenous Peoples.
  • Ethics: Indigenous Peoples’ rights and well being should be the primary concern at all stages of the data life cycle and across the data ecosystem.

The First Nations Principles of OCAP

The First National Principles of OCAP include: 

  • Ownership: refers to the relationship of First Nations to their cultural knowledge, data, and information. This principle states that a community or group owns information collectively in the same way that an individual owns his or her personal information.
  • Control: affirms that First Nations, their communities, and representative bodies are within their rights in seeking to control over all aspects of research and information management processes that impact them. First Nations control of research can include all stages of a particular research project-from start to finish. The principle extends to the control of resources and review processes, the planning process, management of the information and so on.
  • Access: refers to the fact that First Nations must have access to information and data about themselves and their communities regardless of where it is held. The principle of access also refers to the right of First Nations’ communities and organizations to manage and make decisions regarding access to their collective information. This may be achieved, in practice, through standardized, formal protocols.
  • Possession: While ownership identifies the relationship between a people and their information in principle, possession or stewardship is more concrete: it refers to the physical control of data. Possession is the mechanism by which ownership can be asserted and protected.


CIOOS supports a limited number of open data license agreements, and imposes no restrictions on the data beyond those required by said licenses. The standard license agreement employed is Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0), which requires that users i) provide attribution, ii) provide a link to the license, and iii) indicate whether changes were made. Users are expected to confirm the license and its requirements prior to utilizing a dataset. Other open licenses, such as open government licenses  (e.g., “Open Government Licence – Canada”) are also supported. 

For more information, please see the CIOOS Data Licencing & Acknowledgement Agreement (forthcoming).

If you have questions about choosing an open data license for your data when sharing with CIOOS Atlantic, please contact us.


While every effort is made to quality control the data available on the CIOOS portal, data users assume all risks and responsibilities associated with the direct or indirect use of the data and / or associated information. If you have concerns related to a dataset on CIOOS, please contact the data contributor directly.

The CIOOS Data Policy will supply additional details, and will be released once it is complete. 

For more information, please visit our FAQ page.