Open Science

Graphic representing open science as layers, with open science at the center, open science focus areas in the middle, and data program-specific strategies that enable open science in the outer layer.

Image based on a similar image created by Ramachandran, et al., and published in "From Open Data to Open Science." Earth and Space Science [doi:10.1029/2020EA001562].

Open science is a simple concept with tremendous advantages for fostering scientific exploration and discovery. NASA’s Earth Science Data Systems (ESDS) Program defines open science as a collaborative culture enabled by technology that empowers the open sharing of data, information, and knowledge within the scientific community and the wider public to accelerate scientific research and understanding. Since 1994, NASA Earth science data have been available without restriction to all users for any purpose, and since 2015, all data systems software developed through NASA research and technology awards have been made available as Open Source Software.

NASA’s groundbreaking open data policy enables open science through open access to the more than 65 petabytes of Earth science data in NASA’s Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS) collection. Along with these data, ESDS promotes and facilitates the full and open sharing of all metadata, documentation, models, images, and research results along with the source code used to generate, manipulate, and analyze these data.

Merely providing users with access to data, however, is insufficient. Shifts in technology have unlocked the potential to use NASA Earth science data in new ways. As stewards of these data, ESDS is committed to guiding users in leveraging these new paradigms. Through the use of community-driven tools such as the Common Metadata Repository (CMR), Cumulus, and Harmony. NASA’s Earth Science Data and Information System (ESDIS) Project, which manages the data in NASA’s EOSDIS collection, is streamlining data systems operations and maximizing flexibility while offering shared services and controls. The greater the availability of these tools, the more quickly and effectively user communities can utilize the information to answer basic Earth science questions and provide the basis for developing innovative practical applications to benefit society.

NASA Open Data, Services, and Software Policies

Open-Source Science: The NASA Earth Science Perspective (PDF)

NASA ESDS Program Efforts to Foster Open Science

Earthdata Search
Earthdata Search enables sub-second searches through the entire EOSDIS data collection and provides quick access to these data.

Earthdata Cloud
As the volume of mission data increases, so too does the need for technologies that can adapt and scale. Earthdata Cloud facilitates new ways to connect to NASA’s collection of Earth science datasets while improving the efficiency of data systems operations, increasing user autonomy, maximizing flexibility, and offering shared services and controls.

Common Metadata Repository (CMR)
CMR is a high-performance, high-quality, continuously evolving metadata system that catalogs Earth science data and associated service metadata records. These metadata records are registered, modified, discovered, and accessed through programmatic interfaces leveraging standard protocols and application programming interfaces (APIs).

Advancing the Use of GIS Technology
The Earth Science Data Systems Geographic Information Systems Team (EGIST) supports the appropriate use and adoption of geographic information system (GIS) technology in support of Earth science research and applied science for EOSDIS data.

Algorithm Publication Tool
The Algorithm Publication Tool (APT) developed by NASA's Interagency Implementation and Advanced Concepts Team (IMPACT) enables open, reproducible science by helping scientists write standardized, high-quality algorithm documentation collaboratively. Algorithm Theoretical Basis Documents, or ATBDs, help ensure reproducible science by documenting key scientific assumptions made when writing algorithms and by promoting better understanding of Earth observation data.

Earthdata Code Collaborative (ECC)
The ECC is a platform for development, testing, and discovery of EOSDIS applications and services. The ECC provides a ready-to-use framework for running tests every time a code base changes and makes recommendations about what testing frameworks and approaches to use.

Published February 24, 2021

Page Last Updated: Mar 14, 2022 at 9:59 AM EDT