The data resulting from NASA’s missions are a valuable resource that needs to be preserved for the benefit of future generations. In the near-term, as long as the missions’ data are being used actively for scientific research, it continues to be important to provide easy access to data and services commensurate with current information technology. For the longer term, when the research community focus shifts toward new missions and observations, it is essential to preserve the previous mission data and the information needed so that a new user in the future will be able to understand how the data were used for deriving information, knowledge and policy recommendations, and to be able to “repeat the experiment” to ascertain the validity and possible limitations of conclusions reached in the past and to provide confidence in long term trends that depended on data from multiple missions. While NASA is not legislatively mandated to preserve data permanently as are other agencies such as the USGS, NOAA and National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), it is essential for NASA to preserve all the data and associated content beyond the lives of NASA’s missions to meet NASA’s near-term objective of providing access to data and services for active scientific research. Also NASA has to ensure that the data and associated content are preserved for transition to permanent archival agencies. To fulfill this responsibility, identification of the specific content items that need to be preserved from each of NASA’s missions is essential.
This document defines the contents of data, metadata and associated documentation to be preserved beyond the life of missions funded by NASA’s Earth Science Division (ESD).
The Preservation Content Implementation Guidance (PCIG) provides best practices and policies, organization roles and functional responsibilities for implementing the content specifications listed in the Data Preservation Content Specification (PCS).
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