The IAU Working Group on Astronomical Data


The Working Group on Astronomical Data (WGAD) of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) is a working group concerned with issues around the access of astronomical data. Current issues include:

  • Promoting open access to observatory archives

  • Promoting the concept of the Virtual Observatory

  • Promoting common formats for astronomical data to facilitate sharing and entry into public-domain databases
  • Discussing the implications (for data centres, for the VO, for astronomers) of future terabyte astronomical databases.

 The WGAD, chaired by Ray Norris, is a working group of Commission 5 of the IAU. The chair of the WGAD also represents the IAU on CODATA (the ICSU Committee on Data for Science and Technology).

Current Documents

Archive Documents

 Threats to Freedom of Access to Public-Domain Databases

  • Our current freedom of access to public-domain astronomical databases was threatened in 2000-2 by poorly-conceived treaties and legislation proposed by WIPO, the European Union, and other bodies. See here and here for more info. At present, the threat appears to have diminished, thanks to some quick and effective action by members of CODATA and other bodies, but we need to remain vigilant that the threat does not re-appear.


Last updated by Ray Norris, 29 April 2009

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