World Data System

Early Career Researcher Network Charter

Amended 7 February 2023

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The World Data System (WDS) is a body of the International Science Council (ISC) that helps to coordinate and support research data centers and data services worldwide. WDS activities span all disciplines and are designed to ensure that research data are preserved and openly disseminated to safeguard the integrity of science. WDS also supports the ISC’s vision of advancing science as a global public good.

Recognizing the important role of Early Career Researchers in developing and promoting best practice in data management, data analysis and data sharing, WDS establishes a Network of Early Career Researchers and Scientists (ECRs), to help foster better communication among ECRs, and to design activities targeting their interests and concerns.


The WDS-ECR Network is a group of self-defined ECRs committed to advancing data stewardship and best practices in data management. The Network aims to connect ECRs across scientific communities and disciplines to foster collaboration and active participation in developing innovative approaches to data integration and sharing.

WDS-ECR Network members will have an opportunity to participate in regular webinars and yearly training to develop their skills and share their knowledge related to research data management. The Network will facilitate connections between the members and more experienced global leaders within WDS and beyond, as well as regularly profile its members in its newsletters and other publications.


  • Create opportunities for WDS-ECR Network members to advance their career development and increase their visibility, for example, via newsletters, webinars, meetups, job announcements

  • Highlight member research during webinar series and WDS activities

  • Foster connections among ECR members and with the broader WDS community

  • Expand awareness about the role and activities of WDS

  • Encourage participation in the WDS Data Stewardship Award

  • Solicit feedback from members on WDS initiatives

  • Facilitate participation in WDS training activities

  • Promote good data management standards and practices as seen in the WDS Data Sharing Principles and elsewhere

  • Collaboratively organize and participate in workshops and conferences on data management, data analysis, and data sharing

  • Voice ECR members concerns and ideas to the WDS Scientific Committee (WDS-SC)

     Deliverables and Milestones

    Deliverables and Milestones are documented in reports submitted at meetings of the WDS-SC. Reports may be verbal or written. Written reports may be made available in the ECR section of the of the WDS website.


    Anyone self-defined as an Early Career Researcher and/or Scientist subject to the following criteria may be a member of the WDS-ECR Network:

    • Have a master’s degree, equivalent or higher

    • Be in the first 10 years after their last degree

    • Be interested in data management and an advocate for data stewardship

    Ex officio members

    An appointed member of the WDS-SC will serve alongside the WDS Executive Director or representative from WDS IPO staff as ex officio members of the WDS-ECR Network.



    The WDS ECR Network shall be co-chaired by representatives of the ECR Network members.


    Chairs are appointed by the WDS-SC, and shall serve a term of three years, unless agreed otherwise. Towards the end of their term, the Co-chairs initiate a selection process by launching a Call for Applications for new Co-chairs. After the Call is closed, the Co-chairs review the applications and submit their candidates to the WDS-SC for approval. The WDS-SC then conducts a formal review of the candidates and appoints the new Co-chairs of the Network.

    Chairs are reviewed once every three years before the launch of a Call for Applications to bring on new Chairs so that the SC can decide on whether the Network is still of value and can close it or ask for changes before the recruitment process begins.


    The Co-chairs are responsible for:

    • Actively promoting the Network via community newsletters, social media, and participation in WDS and external events

    • Organizing meetings among the Co-chairs and members of the Advisory Board (see below)

    • Providing content and feedback on the WDS-ECR Network section of the WDS website

    • Developing WDS-ECR Network activities

    • Updating the Network membership profile book

    • Revisiting Network goals and objectives based on changing needs of the Network and feedback from the WDS-SC, updating the Charter accordingly

    • Assessing the community of Network members via periodic surveys

    • Organizing speaker series and webinars, including WDS webinars targeting all WDS Members and partners

    • Communications and announcements

    • Overall Network coordination

    • Document all deliverables and milestones, and report these to the WDS-SC. Post highlights to the Network webpages and communicate them to the Network.

    All Co-chairs are expected to be actively involved in implementing responsibilities; however, the exact roles and responsibilities of each Co-chair is an internal decision. Three Co-chairs will serve for a three- year term, and each one will have an opportunity to serve for one year as the WDS-SC Liaison, participating in WDS-SC Meetings and Telecons as the ECR Representative. It is at the discretion of the

    Co-chairs to decide who will serve as the Liaison on which year of their collective tenure. The Liaison will serve as first among equals during that year.

    The Advisory Board

    The Advisory Board is composed of up to a maximum of five voluntary Network members. Advisory Board members act as liaisons within their respective communities to help expand the Network and provide wider representation in terms of disciplines, topics, and local context. Members of the Advisory Board provide key feedback on potential speakers and emerging data-related topics of interest to ECRs. They also provide inputs to the Co-chairs on opportunities for future engagement. The members of the Advisory Board are appointed by the Co-chairs for a period of one year (renewable). At the end of their term, the Co-chairs are automatically appointed as part of the Advisory Board to assist the new Co-chairs and ensure a smooth transition and the retention of institutional knowledge.

    Network Representative at the WDS Scientific Committee

    In 2018, the Governing Board of the ISC (former ICSU) approved a one-year ‘rolling’ seat on the WDS- SC to be filled by a representative of the WDS-ECR Network. A WDS-ECR Network Liaison will begin their term on 1 July of each year and will then participate in the Meetings and Telecons of the WDS Scientific Committee for a full calendar year before being replaced. The WDS-ECR Network representative taking on the Liaison role is nominated by the Co-chairs and is appointed by the WDS- SC. Priority will nominally be given to the Co-chairs for this role; however, Advisory Board members may be considered for nomination, and exceptional members of the general network may also be put forward.


    During their one-year term as Liaison, the representative of the WDS-ECR Network appointed to the WDS-SC will commit to:

    • Participate in WDS-SC meetings and brief the WDS-SC on WDS Network activities

    • Facilitate participation of the Network in WDS-convened events (both online and in-person)

    • Brief their fellow Co-chairs, and ultimately the wider Network, on actions requested by the WDS-SC


    Participation of members of the WDS-ECR Network is voluntary. Administrative support is provided by the WDS-IPO. This includes organizing online meetings and providing an online collaborative space.

    Financial support for travel is provided by the WDS-IPO to the WDS-SC Liaison to attend in person SC meetings during their term of service as funds allow. The WDS-IPO cannot provide financial support for travelling nor for any other costs, to other meetings, events, or conferences. Face-to-face meetings will be organized as the opportunity arises at international conferences, and participants will be expected to fund their travel and expenses through their own organizations.


    Communication between Co-chairs and Advisory Board

    • General communication is conducted via email

    • Development and update of documentation (e.g., reports, charter, website layouts) is conducted via email

    • All action items, decisions, and recommendations are documented; meeting minutes are shared via email

    Communication with Network Members and Broader Community

    • Documentation is shared with the Network via the WDS website

    • General communication is conducted via e-mail using the WDS-ECR Network Mailing List in Microsoft 365

    • External communication is provided through the established WDS-ECR Network webpages and via social media

    • WDS-ECR Network members may contact the Co-chairs via the ECR-Chairs Mailing List


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