The International Ocean Data Conference II – The Data We Need for the Ocean We Want, was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France as a hybrid event between 20-22 March 2023, just prior to IODE-XXVII. The event was attended by 160 participants on site and 296 online. The goal of IODC-II was to focus on the implementation of the commitments and main recommendations identified at IODC-I, and therefore was organized around four sessions following those recommendations (see programme). 

During Session 1 “Implementing the FAIR and CARE principles for ocean science and sustainable development”, participants emphasized the importance of investing in systematic data integration services and creating consistent metadata models. Additionally, they recommended paying attention to data formats, providing APIs, and using controlled vocabularies to achieve harmonized FAIR data. They also highlighted the need for connection and collaboration across communities with different technological maturity levels to enhance capacity building. Finally, they recommended keeping terms of use/licensing as open as possible and removing restrictions on data unless necessary.

Session 2 on “Community Engagement and Capacity Development in Data Literacy” focused on improving cooperation mechanisms for multi-stakeholder partnerships, particularly between scientific and educational institutions. The participants recommended using innovative and creative approaches for outreach and communication strategies to reach a wider range of user communities, such as youth, women, indigenous groups, non-technical community groups, and specific stakeholder sectors. They also emphasized enhancing documentation of experiences and promoting best practices on community engagement and empowerment, as well as embedding capacity development through transdisciplinary approaches and co-design from project conceptualization to implementation.

In Session 3 on the “Global Ocean Digital Ecosystem”, the need for coordination and co-governance of digital interoperability norms at all levels of the ocean digital ecosystem was highlighted. The participants recommended developing clear, common, and computable maps of data and service flows to ensure everyone is on the same page and can resolve niche crowding or gaps. Additionally, they suggested updating metrics for success to focus on how well new components are embedded within the ocean digital ecosystem, and when each digital system can federate queries/responses to others simultaneously. Finally, the participants emphasized the importance of rallying and challenging the strategy and implementation plan of the Decade Data & Information Strategy, which will focus on engineering a global digital ecosystem.

During Session 4 “Interdisciplinarity, societal needs”, the participants called for more inter- and transdisciplinary research practices to ensure more diversity, transparency, equity, inclusion, and trust in ocean science. They recommended that social sciences support efforts to improve ocean data use by analyzing user needs and how different actors with different data practices can collaborate, integrate their knowledge, and avoid injustices and discrimination. The participants also suggested that social sciences assess underlying needs, values, and norms of scientists or database managers that shape data-related practices, and these qualitative insights may be aligned with insights from quantitative analyses of data usages and information flow patterns at larger scales.