Earth Science Data Repositories: Implementing the CARE Principles


Datasets carry cultural and political context at all parts of the data life cycle. Historically, Earth science data repositories have taken their guidance and policies as a combination of mandates from their funding agencies and the needs of their user communities, typically universities, agencies, and researchers. Consequently, repository practices have rarely taken into consideration the needs of other communities such as the Indigenous Peoples on whose lands data are often acquired.

In recent years, a number of global efforts have worked to improve the conduct of research as well as data policy and practices by the repositories that hold and disseminate it. One of these established the CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance (Carroll et al. 2020), representing ‘Collective Benefit’, ‘Authority to Control’, ‘Responsibility’, and ‘Ethics”’ hosted by the Global Indigenous Data Alliance (GIDA 2023a).

In order to align to the CARE Principles, repositories may need to update their policies, architecture, service offerings, and their collaboration models. The question is how? Operationalizing principles into active repositories is generally a fraught process. This paper captures perspectives and recommendations from many of the repositories that are members of the Earth Science Information Partners (ESIPFed, n.d.) in conjunction with members of the Collaboratory for Indigenous Data Governance (Collaboratory for Indigenous Data Governance n.d.) and GIDA, defines and prioritizes the set of activities Earth and Environmental repositories can take to better adhere to CARE Principles in the hopes that this will help implementation in repositories globally.


O’Brien, M, Duerr, R, Taitingfong, R, Martinez, A, Vera, L, Jennings, L L, Downs, R R, Antognoli, E, Brink, T T, Halmai, N B, Carroll, S R, David-Chavez, D, Hudson, M, and Buttigieg, P L 2024 Earth Science Data Repositories: Implementing the CARE Principles. Data Science Journal, 23: 37, pp. 1–29. DOI:

Related Resources

Using Indigenous Standards to Implement the CARE Principles: Setting Expectations through Tribal Research Codes

Indigenous Peoples have historically been targets of extractive research that has led to little to no benefit. In genomics, such research not only exposes communities to harms and risks of misuse, but also deprives such communities of potential benefits. Tribes in the US have been exercising their…


  The NYU Alliance for Public Interest Technology Alliance is a dynamic and multidisciplinary group of NYU faculty who are experts on the responsible and ethical creation, use and governance of technology in society. The Alliance is a provostial initiative that connects numerous NYU hubs…

Thumbnail or cover image
CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance

Los Principios CREA para la Gobernanza de Datos Indigenas The increasing convergence of technology infrastructure and digital connectivity has raised the value of data across the globe. Whether existing knowledge is digitised or new data are ‘born digital’, the impact they have on decision-making,…