The World Data System (WDS) of the International Science Council (ISC) was established in 2008 (its predecessor bodies were established in 1957). It supports the ISC’s vision that ‘Scientific knowledge, data and expertise must be universally accessible and its benefits universally shared’ by promoting long-term stewardship of, and universal and equitable access to, quality-assured scientific data and data services, products, and information across all disciplines. WDS facilitates scientific research under the ISC umbrella by coordinating and supporting trustworthy scientific data services in the provision, use, and preservation of their datasets, while strengthening their links with the research community. To fulfil its remit, WDS builds worldwide ‘communities of excellence’ comprising of certified scientific data services (its Member Organizations)—holders and providers of data or data products—to form a distributed, interoperable data system.