Articles | Volume 7, issue 2
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 7, 239–244, 2015
Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 7, 239–244, 2015

Review article 08 Sep 2015

Review article | 08 Sep 2015

The IPY 2007–2008 data legacy – creating open data from IPY publications

A. Driemel1, H. Grobe1, M. Diepenbroek2, H. Grüttemeier3, S. Schumacher1, and R. Sieger1 A. Driemel et al.
  • 1Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven, Germany
  • 2Marum – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, Bremen, Germany
  • 3Institut de l'information scientifique et technique, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy, France

Abstract. The International Polar Year (IPY) 2007–2008 was a synchronized effort to simultaneously collect data from polar regions. Being the fourth in a series of IPYs, the demand for interdisciplinarity and new data products was high. However, despite all the research done on land, people, ocean, ice and atmosphere and the large amount of data collected, no central archive or portal was created for IPY data. In order to improve the availability and visibility of IPY data, a concerted effort between PANGAEA – Data Publisher for Earth and Environmental Science, the International Council for Science (ICSU) World Data System (WDS), and the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI) was undertaken to extract data resulting from IPY publications for long-term preservation.

Overall, 1380 IPY-related references were collected. Of these, only 450 contained accessible data. All data were extracted, quality checked, annotated with metadata and uploaded to PANGAEA. The 450 articles dealt with a multitude of IPY topics – plankton biomass, water chemistry, ice thickness, whale sightings, Inuit health, alien species introductions by travellers or tundra biomass change, to mention just a few. Both the Arctic and the Antarctic were investigated in the articles, and all realms (land, people, ocean, ice and atmosphere) and a wide range of countries were covered. The data compilation can now be found with the identifier doi:10.1594/PANGAEA.150150, and individual parts can be searched using the PANGAEA search engine ( and adding "+project:ipy". With this effort, we hope to improve the visibility, accessibility and long-term storage of IPY data for future research and new data products.

Short summary
The International Polar Year 2007-2008 was a synchronized effort of over 60 nations to simultaneously collect data from polar regions. However, large parts of IPY knowledge have only been reported in publications. A concerted effort of PANGAEA ( and the International Council for Scientific and Technical Information resulted in the extraction of 1270 data sets from 450 IPY publications. They are now available to the public by open access (