Medium Term Plan 2021-2025


MEDIUM-TERM PLAN (MTP) (2021-2025)



Data-driven discovery in the Geosciences




         The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), one of the world’s largest scientific unions, led a group of national geological surveys, specialized geosciences research institutions and centers that are repositories of “big data” in several geosciences disciplines to launch the Deep-time Digital Earth (DDE) Program in 2019. DDE aims to enable and enhance data-driven discovery in the geosciences and create linked, big-earth data-hubs that are interoperable with other databases including those in the public domain and unpublished data held by institutions and centers of expertise. DDE will build a FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) data infrastructure that links existing data bases and provide tailor-made products and services to a wide range of academics, researchers, policy professionals and the public.

         DDE attracted funding and basic infrastructure support from China in 2018. From 26 to 28 February 2019, 80 geoscientists from 40 different geosciences organizations, including IUGS, the British Geological Survey (BGS), the Russian Geological Research Institute and others came together in a “kick-off” meeting in Beijing, China and prepared the formal launch of DDE at the 36th session of IUGS which was due to be convened in March 2020, in New Delhi, India. 12 organizations joined the DDE Program as Founding Members at that meeting. The IUGS session in New Delhi, like many other international events scheduled for 2020 was postponed due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic; it is now expected to be convened in August 2021. Following the “kick-off” meeting, thanks to the enthusiasm of several organizations committed to DDE, the Program has grown and attracted attention of geoscientists from all over the world; in October 2020, 5 new Members joined DDE during the 1st session (on-line) of the Governing Council of DDE (see annex 1 for a full list of 17 Members of DDE as of 10 November 2020).

         A DDE Science Plan for 2019-2029 has been drawn up by IUGS and its partners. The Plan has led to the establishment of key Governing (a Governing Council (GC) and an Executive Committee (EC)), Advisory (Scientific Committee (SC)) and Operational (Steering Committee (StC)) organs that will oversee and manage DDE’s scientific research agenda emphasizing data driven discovery and knowledge in the geosciences. China has honored its commitment to provide infrastructure support by financing the establishment of the DDE Global Secretariat in Suzhou, China. This Medium-Term Plan (MTP) for 2021-2025 is informed by DDE’s Global Science Plan for 2019-2029; it draws from discussions during DDE’s 1st EC and GC sessions held in October 2020, SC meeting convened in early 2020 and 23 StC meetings held since the launch of DDE in February 2019. DDE Secretariat has received suggestions on its strengths and weaknesses, constraints that must be overcome and opportunities which could be explored and exploited for DDE to grow and expand. These suggestions as well as other insights from regular communications between the Secretariat, GC, EC, SC and StC has led to the definition of the 6 strategic objectives of this MTP; a brief description of issues related to implementation and deliverables linked to each of those objectives for the next 5-year period of DDE’s work are described. Monitoring and evaluation procedures for the implementation of the 5-year Plan are outlined.  




         DDE has grown since its launch in 2019 and is fostering a network of scientific organizations and partnerships. Discussions and exchange of views since its launch have led to the completion of the DDE Science Plan for 2019-2029. Other than the creation of DDE’s Governing Council and Executive, Scientific and Steering committees, 19 scientific working groups and 8 task groups have been established. Working Groups (WGs) provide DDE Program with operational scientific capacity to design, develop and implement individual projects within their own fields of geosciences expertise. Task Groups (TGs) will specifically explore databases through projects and/or workshops. Work on 4 aspects for building the DDE cyberinfrastructure, i.e. DDE Data, DDE Knowledge, DDE Platform and DDE Scholar, have begun. Collaboration between some WGs, e.g. those dealing with Stratigraphy and Paleontology dating back to times even before the launch of DDE, has generated outcomes that could guide future work of WTGs under the DDE banner. A data-driven discovery symposium is planned in 2021. Preparations for profiling DDE, attracting new Members and building new partnerships will be given high-priority during the 36th session of IUGS expected to be convened in New Delhi, India, in August 2021.

         In addition to the support given to the establishment of the global Secretariat of DDE, China has also initiated the construction of DDE’s first Research Centre of Excellence (RCE) in Suzhou. The construction of RCE is progressing at a brisk pace and the Centre is expected to be ready for housing the DDE Secretariat and scientists by 2022 at the latest. Efforts to establish two other RCEs in UK and USA, respectively, are being pursued and are making good progress.

         DDE’s achievements since its launch in February 2019, despite severe limitations imposed on international and national travel and the convening of face-to-face meetings and communications by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, provide a solid foundation for further development and growth. Nevertheless, a number of weaknesses and constraints listed here have been highlighted by some representatives of GC/EC/SC as well as Founding Members that, if not addressed and resolved at the earliest possible stages of DDE development, could limit DDEs growth potential and the scientific contributions it could make to the advancement of geosciences knowledge.

·         The draft statutes and bylaws require concerted attention of the Governing and Advisory bodies and the Secretariat in order to expedite revisions and finalization. Currently Membership criteria are unclear. The current draft’s links between monetary contributions of Members and their voting rights were unacceptable to several GC Members who participated in the 1st session of the GC held via zoom on 21 October 2020. Geographical and gender diversity of the Governing Bodies, Scientific and Steering Committees of the DDE Program need improvements. Some GC Members expressed concerns that the DDE Program is not paying sufficient attention to attracting members from the global south. The GC Chair has requested several participants who made comments during the 1st session of the GC via zoom-link on October 21 to provide written contributions to him of the changes they would like to see reflected in the current draft Statutes and bylaws. These and other amendments to the Statutes and bylaws will be discussed during a special session of the GC to be convened in the first quarter of 2021.

·         There are other aspects of Statutes and bylaws that would require clarifications and revisions. One example would be the distinction between member and partners. Others include, ways and means of ensuring transparent budgeting and financial management procedures; intellectual property rights and related issues linked to data sharing is critical to the development and success of DDE but has not been addressed in the current version of the Statutes and the bylaws; and procedures for developing partnerships with private, business sector and for-profit enterprises need to outlined.

·         Some representatives of WGs and TGs (hereafter WTGs) have expressed dissatisfaction with regard to the level and efficiency of communications between the Governing bodies and the Secretariat and the rest of the DDE community. The speed at which the DDE website was launched is impressive; however, the design, structure and content-richness of the DDE website need considerable improvement. Furthermore, the current web-site content is highly technical and may attract mainly a professional geosciences community; both content and presentation need to be diversified if the website is to attract scientists from other earth and environmental sciences disciplines, development policy professionals, industries, businesses and entrepreneurs and the general public.

·         WTGs have requested more clarity regarding processes for submitting proposals for funding by the DDE Secretariat, the evaluation of proposals by the SC, formats and deadlines for submission of proposals, criteria and durations of evaluation procedures etc.

·         Some representatives of WTGs have expressed their concern for the tendency of WGs to work within their own disciplinary silos. Encouragement and incentives for collaboration between WTGs need to be identified and promoted.

·         Currently the funding basis of the DDE Program is extremely narrow, restricted mainly to contributions from within China and modest inputs from IUGS. Ways and means of broadening and deepening the financial foundation and sustainability of DDE need to be secured during the implementation of this 5-year plan and consolidated during the following five-years to ensure the full implementation of the DDE Science Plan for 2019-2029.

         Opportunities for minimizing the impacts of the weaknesses and constraints noted above have been identified in the DDE Science Plan for 2019-2029. For example, collaboration between WTGs could be increased by prioritizing projects and initiatives that focus on the 4E scientific themes and questions related to each of those 4 themes. The 4Es are: Evolution of Materials, Evolution of Geodynamics, Evolution of Life and Evolution of Climate. Furthermore, the Science Plan has recommended work on applications of data driven discovery for economic development. Evolution of economic minerals, hydrocarbons, ground water-aquifers and other natural resources over deep-time and economic development are of interest; matching the findings of applied sciences for the use of resources in economic development has also been identified as a key component for the work of DDE on data-driven discovery for economic development.

         DDE’s potential to contribute to the UN 2030 agenda for delivering sustainable development goals (SDGs) and targets has been noted1,2, 4. 2021-2030 will be a period of equal importance to both the development of DDE as well as for enabling UN Member States to reach targets of UN SDGs. The same timeframe coincides with two additional UN Decades that could benefit from potential DDE research findings and applications; namely, the Decade on Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The period between 2021 and 2030 overlaps with the International Decade for Water for Sustainable Development (2018-2028) and Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024). The IUGS document on DDE1 had addressed case studies such as African Groundwater Storage to illustrate how data-driven discovery could anchor knowledge directly relevant to economic development in Africa. Research on many of the questions linked to the 4E themes identified by the DDE Science Plan, e.g. global sea-level change through deep-time, how did ecosystems respond to extreme climatic conditions etc., could be of direct interest to work that will be carried out under the UN Decades on Ocean Science and Ecosystem Restoration.

         IUGS which maintains close relationships with UN bodies, particularly with UNESCO which is the UN specialized agency with an explicit mandate for science. IUGS’s longstanding relationship with UNESCO, home to the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC), International Hydrological Program (IHP) and the International Geosciences and Geoparks Program (IGGP), could be used to build potential links between DDE research, data-sharing and data-driven discovery and relevant UN initiatives linked to natural resources and sustainable development. IUGS’s and UNESCO have collaborated on the origin, development and implementation of the International Geological Correlation Program (IGCP) which today is part of IGGP. IGCP will commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2022. DDE could use its cyberinfrastructure and data-sciences expertise to deliver targeted outputs for this landmark occasion which to demonstrate the significance and necessity of geo and data sciences collaboration and help raise the profile and visibility of DDE.

         UNESCO also leads international efforts in the conservation of geological heritage of outstanding universal value under the World Heritage Convention and sustainable use and management of geological sites of regional and national importance under its UNESCO Global Geoparks Program (also part of IGGP) in cooperation with IUGS. Both World Geological Heritage and the Geoparks Programs offer opportunities to DDE to use data driven knowledge for education of the public as well as visitors to these sites and widen the appreciation of deep-time geological phenomena and their links to contemporary conservation and development issues and problems.



         The vision and mission of the DDE Science Plan is:

to transform Earth Science by harmonizing global geoscience data, sharing global geoscience knowledge and fostering a deep-time data driven research paradigm.

Based on the above statement, this 5-year (2021-2025) plan will pursue the following vision and mission

The vision of this 5-year Plan is to: “Establish DDE as one of the world’s well recognized global hub for data driven discovery and knowledge dissemination in the geosciences.”

The mission of this 5-year Plan is to: “ensure institutional credibility and financial sustainability of DDE for promoting a deep-time data driven geosciences research paradigm for the benefit science, society and sustainable development.”



         DDE is a global, international partnership for promoting scientific cooperation for data driven discovery in geosciences. Its work will be carried out in an open and transparent manner, respecting rules, regulations, working methods and approaches of member organizations and cooperating partners (both institutions and countries). It will follow the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of cooperating countries and organizations. DDE will enhance geographical and gender diversity in representation in its Governance, Advisory and managerial organs and membership and partnerships. DDE will strive to attain the highest levels of professional competence and integrity in all research, data driven discovery and related initiatives. DDE will follow rules and procedures established via consensus for data-sharing and other aspects of international scientific cooperation critical for the success of DDE.



         The Goal of this 5-year plan is to:

“Develop DDE into a pioneer, international research and development program for collaboration between data and geoscientists that generates and disseminates information, insights and knowledge of demonstrable significance to academic and scientific research, public policies on natural resources management and sustainable development and for raising awareness and appreciation of the public for deep-time geosciences phenomena”.  

Reaching this goal necessitates the implementation of actions and activities to attain the following objectives and deliverables tied to each of the objectives.

Objective 1:

DDE has established clearly defined rules, regulations, procedures and guidelines for promoting international scientific cooperation for data-driven discovery in geosciences.


A thorough review of the Statutes and bylaws to fill in gaps, clarify interpretation and to seek consensus of members and partners will be undertaken as a priority task. The final version of the Statutes and bylaws must conform to DDE values of trust and transparency, respect for diversity in rules, regulations, working methods and approaches of members and partners and promote geographical and gender diversity of members as well as their representation in governance, advisory and managerial organs of DDE.

At present, work is underway to review some sections of the Statutes and bylaws, particularly those concerned with membership, rights and obligations of members and financial management rules and procedures. Outcome of the work is expected to be presented and discussed during a special session of the GC in the first quarter of 2021. Given the fact that the session will most likely be a time-limited one via zoom it is unlikely that the session will produce a “final” version of the Statutes and bylaws. Discussions during the session could result in identifying the need for additional scrutiny of other sections of the Statutes and bylaws such as those related to partnerships, structure and representation of GC, EC, SC and StC as well as the Secretariat; new sections on intellectual property and data sharing issues may have to be drafted.

Hence, the GC, at its next session in the first quarter of 2021, or by requesting the EC due to meet in January 2021, will appoint a “Drafting Committee”, headed by the Chair of the GC and assisted by the Secretariat, to fully review the Statutes and bylaws, introduce any missing elements, refine the language and precision of interpretation of the different rules, regulations and guidelines and allow sufficient time for circulating a few rounds of the drafts to obtain feedback from members and partners. The following is a schedule for the drafting and adoption process that could be followed.


Early January 2021: GC/EC appoints a drafting committee (3-5 individuals) that includes volunteer members, representatives of GC, EC, SC and/or StC and/or the Secretariat to thoroughly review the Statutes and bylaws and prepare a revised version.

31 March 2021: 1st draft of revised Statutes and bylaws circulated to GC, EC, SC, StC and members; it is also made available on the DDE web for any interested members and partners to comment.

30 April 2021: End of time allotted for commenting on the 1st revision of Statutes and bylaws

30 June 2021: 2nd draft of revised Statutes and bylaws circulated for comments in the same way as the 1st draft. If the 36th session of IUGS is convened in August 2021 then the time-limit for providing comments on the 2nd draft could be set at 31 August 2021. If possible, a face-to-face discussion engaging DDE GC, EC, SC and StC and Secretariat as well as member and partner representatives attending the Conference will be organized a broader range of inputs and comments for the revision of the DDE Statutes and bylaws.

30 September 2021: 3rd and final revision of draft Statutes and bylaws.

31 October 2021: End of comment period on the 3rd version of the draft Statutes and bylaws.

31 December 2021: Draft final version of the Statues and bylaws circulated to participants of the EC Session in January 2022.

January 2022:  EC meets, reviews and final draft, identifies additional revisions and changes needed and recommends a version for the adoption by GC.

1st quarter of 2022: Final version of Statutes and bylaws adopted by the GC.

EC, and if necessary special GC sessions will monitor progress and contribute towards finalizing the Statutes and bylaws and its adoption by the GC in accordance with the time schedule described above. Such sessions may be needed for parts of the Statutes and bylaws where reaching consensus is found to be difficult.

Deliverable: Statutes and bylaws prepared through a consultative process and adopted by consensus before the end of the 1st quarter of 2022.

Objective 2: DDE communicates and promotes the scientific significance of big data analyses and applications and data driven discovery in geosciences using a variety of dissemination channels and member networks.

Implementation: Big data science is reliant not only on availability of and access to data; but on computing power and skilled and competent personnel who are trained in direct and remotely sensed data collection, data analytics, machine learning, AI and other “high-tech”domains. The latter skills and competencies are distributed unevenly across and within different parts of the world and the Members of the DDE network. Furthermore, data driven analyses is often used for novel means of displaying and presenting data; illustrating and demonstrating data driven “discovery”, i.e. previously unknown trends, patterns and insights, or the generation of new knowledge will require careful choice of the questions/problems for study that can generate results and outcomes for demonstrating the power of data-driven discovery. Furthermore, clearly describing the “new” and “innovative” insights, trends and patterns and knowledge that data driven discovery had revealed would also require clear and careful illustrations and writing. The conceptual basis, methods and data collation and analyses as well as interpretation of findings to draw conclusions and recommendations may well be new to even some geoscientists, particularly from less developed parts of the world, and others who are averse to or avoid “heavy” quantitative approaches; illustrating the potential of data driven discovery for policy and decision making and to raise awareness of the general public of “deep-time” phenomena that underlies the geological sites they visit and appreciate would require refined science journalistic skills. 

DDE communications, whether disseminated through web, scientific papers and reviews, policy briefs, science and non-specialized journalism outlets, members’ websites etc., needs to be targeted at a diversity of audiences and needs to cater to their expectations, levels of curiosity and interest in learning about data-driven discovery in sciences in general, and more particularly in the geosciences.

DDE Secretariat and Governing, Executive and Scientific bodies must develop an overall, global vision of the diversity of target audiences the Program wishes to cater to. Individual Members of the DDE Program may choose to cater to specialized epistemic communities of interest to them and specific sectors in policy and public domains with whom they interact closely. The same would apply for WTGs. The data scientists working with DDE may however, communicate with a rather different group, for example comprising mainly of engineers, computer scientists and technologists, which may not include many geoscientists. Articulating the range and type of audiences DDE communications will be targeted at during the earliest stages of website design and development could help content richness and diversity and improve the relevance of information shared and transmitted via the website to various target audiences. Communications and networking to build and enhance DDE profile and reputation will also be pursued via the DDE Ambassador and other GC, EC, SC, StC, Secretariat and member representatives attending a wide range of international conferences and seminars on themes linked to geo and data sciences as well as events sponsored by the UN and other global organizations of interest to DDE.

The implementation of objective 2 could aim for the following outcomes:

·         DDE Website is a sophisticated platform to cater to a diversity of audiences ranging from specialized scientific communities, policy professionals interested in sustainable development at local, national, regional and global scales, special interest groups in applications of geological knowledge (e.g. geological heritage management, geo-tourism), journalists and other day-to-day information providers on new trends in scientific and technological development etc;

·         DDE website hosts a series of webinars, dialogues and discussions bringing together geo and data scientists and other interest groups representing journalists, policy and development, business and entrepreneurial groups from energy, minerals, water, soils and other natural resources management sectors, managers and administrators of geoparks and geoheritage sites, civil society organizations etc;

·         DDE websites and Member websites link to each other promoting and sharing information, data, insights and knowledge derived from data-driven discovery initiatives;

·         DDE representatives attend and contribute to face-to-face as well as on-line conferences, seminars and workshops on themes and issues linked to data driven discovery in geosciences to highlight contributions of DDE and to advocate and promote DDE’s initiatives;

Implementation of actions and activities under objective 2 will generate the following deliverables:

In 2021: (i) A thorough review of the DDE website and an updated design and plan for the website which caters to a clearly defined set of target audiences who can benefit from data driven discovery in the geosciences; (ii) initiation of dialogue and communications with current Members, potential new Members, partners who share interests in data driven discovery in geo and other related (water, ocean, energy) sciences for website linkages and data sharing; (iii) attendance and participation in the 36th session of the IUGS with the organization special events and sessions dedicated to the promotion DDE and the implementation of its science plan (2019-2029) and this five-year (2021-2025) plan; and (iv) concept note, announcements and planning for convening a data-driven discovery in the geosciences symposium.

In 2022-2023: (i) An updated, content-rich DDE website linked to a minimum of 10 other websites of current and new Members and partners; (ii) Data to provide evidence for growing interest and frequency of visits to the DDE website gathered and made available to EC, GC, SC and StC Members on a monthly basis: (iii) With the help of IUGS and other potential partners DDE has established strong links with UNESCO, not only with regard to the International Geosciences and Geoparks (IGGP) Program but also to International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and International Hydrological Program (IHP); (iv) Outcome of DDE sessions and special events held during the 36th session of IUGS published and disseminated through web, print and other media outlets; (v) data-driven discovery symposium organized in 2022 and proceedings of the symposium published in cooperation with a reputed publisher

In 2024-2025: (i) Continued monitoring of web-site performance as described in item (ii) above for 2022-2023; (ii) DDE collaborates with Members and partners who have been linked to UN Decade on Sustainable Energy for All which will conclude in 2024 to issue special publications using data-driven analyses of trends and patterns since the beginning of the new (21st) century and projections for the future in light of energy transformations foreseen to combat climate change; (iii) DDE data driven discovery findings, data bases and approaches are used to design and launch 5 visitor and public education campaigns on “deep-time data and knowledge for society and development”, including in a selected number of well visited geoparks and geological heritage sites, both in China and in other countries; (iv) At least 5 popular science articles in reputed Journals (e.g. National Geographic, GEO, National Geographic Traveler etc.) sponsored by DDE and some of the Members and partners.      

Objective 3: DDE has acquired the necessary technological and human resources for creating a cyberinfrastructure and established a number of Research Centers of Excellence (RCEs) to function as a globally networked hub for data driven discovery in geosciences.

Implementation: Data sciences, in addition to having ready access to a wide range of data sources in geosciences also requires hardware and software as well as expertise in the use of machine learning, AI, big-data analyses and other high-tech applications. As observed earlier, the distribution of those technologies and expertise in the world are uneven and concentrated in selected countries and regions. Most geographical regions will have at least a few countries that have the necessary technological infrastructure and expertise. DDE foresees the establishment of Research Centers of Excellence (RCEs) and infrastructure development for the first RCE is well underway in Suzhou, China. The Suzhou RCE, in collaboration with some of the Founding Members of DDE, namely Korea Institute of Minerals and Geosciences (KIGAM) and the Coordinating Committee for Geosciences Program in East and Southeast Asia could serve the ASEAN group of 10 countries. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has several opportunities to link to many central, south and west Asian, as well as Gulf States, East African and east and central European countries for collaboration in data driven discovery in geosciences based on China’s scientific and technological expertise. The creation of a cyberinfrastructure that will support the DDE Global Program Secretariat in Suzhou is well underway in China and can be used to launch demonstration projects and initiatives that could illustrate the value and importance of data-driven discovery in the geosciences and help attract new Members and partners from the global south (i.e. less developed nations in all regions of the world that do not have the wherewithal to invest in developing the necessary technological resources and expertise). Additional RCEs for development are foreseen in the UK and USA. Possibilities for creation of RCEs in the European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and the Gulf States are worthy of exploration.

RCEs, in collaboration with DDE Members and partners could provide human resources development in the interface between and data and geosciences in all parts of the world through training and exchange of expertise and knowledge. The 10-year (2019-2029) DDE Science Plan will significantly benefit from having a distributed network of a new generation of academics, researchers and policy and management practitioners who are familiar with models and approaches of data-driven discovery and have acquired skills and competencies for interpreting outcomes of big-data analyses and allied approaches to resolve specific natural resources management and development issues and problems. A networked system of DDE RCEs could provide residencies for post-doctoral fellows, visiting scientists, policy professionals interested in learning about the use of data-driven geosciences applications in natural resources development and could also serve as a venue for the organization of workshops, seminars and similar gatherings on selected DDE research themes and questions.

The implementation of objective 3 could aim for the following outcomes:

·         Completion of the construction of the RCE in Suzhou, Beijing and its use by visiting scientists, DDE member and partner representatives, organization of scientific, technical and public relations dialogues to promote data driven discovery in the geosciences;

·         Planning, negotiations, funding and other aspects of the establishment of RCEs in the UK and USA accelerated and completed. Opportunities for establishing other RCEs in at least two other regions of the world, (EU and preferably Africa), explored and pursued;

·         DDE global program has cyberinfrastructure support for demonstrating some “easy-win” examples of data-driven discovery and knowledge in geosciences. At least one initiative for converting published and unpublished paper data to digital mode based long-term international cooperation projects in the geosciences implemented. International Geological Correlation Program (IGCP) implemented by IUGS and UNESCO will commemorate its 50th anniversary in the year 2022; products and services that data-driven discovery can deliver could be illustrated using the IGCP as a test-case and benefiting from the visibility that could be generated through its 50th year commemoration activities;

·         A special DDE initiative for post-doctoral fellows  support program (for geo and data scientists) designed and operated with funding resources for their residency in RCEs to carry out work for linking DDE to other databases related to the 4E research themes and questions4 for use by geoscientists, natural resource managers and policy and decision makers.


Implementation of actions and activities under objective 3 will generate the following deliverables:


In 2021: (i) RCE, Suzhou infrastructure development completed; (ii) Plans and next steps for the establishment of RCEs in UK and USA described and measures taken for them to begin operations before the end of the 2022-2023 biennium announced; (iii) cyberinfrastructure of DDE global is operational and delivers at least 5 scientific publications or reports in collaboration with selected WTGs and Members; (iv) DDE cyberinfrastructure group collectively explore the IGCP Projects with a view to designing an “IGCP Google” that includes an “IGCP Google Scholar” to be launched in commemoration with the 50th anniversary celebrations of IGCP in 2022 in collaboration with IUGS and UNESCO.


In 2022-2023: (i)“IGCP Google” that includes an “IGCP Google Scholar” launched in commemoration with the 50th anniversary of IGCP in 2022 in collaboration with IUGS and UNESCO at an event that attracts visibility and raises the profile of DDE; (ii) two new RCEs are established and operational in the UK and USA; (iii) interest and opportunities to launch RCEs in other regions, e.g. EU, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, Arab States etc., explored and the country(ies)/region(s) with the greatest likelihood in succeeding in the creation of new RCEs identified; (iv) RCE, Suzhou hosts at least 3 visiting scholars from Member and/or Partner organizations to design and launch cooperative initiatives on data-driven discovery in geosciences in countries and/or regions participating in China’s BRI initiative; (v) Concept, proposal development and fund-raising for supporting post-doctoral fellows in RCEs initiated.


In 2024-2025: (i) At least one new RCE launched and networked with existing RCEs in China, the UK and USA; (ii) the reception and level/extent of use of the “IGCP Google” tracked and achievements highlighted and constraints and problems for its better use, particularly by less developed nations, addressed; (iii) RCEs in China, the UK, USA and the new one launched during the biennium, together host 10 visiting scholars from Member and/or partner organizations to design and launch co-operative initiatives on data-driven discovery in geosciences; (iv) a program to finance post-doctoral researchers working on DDE research and (graduate) level training financed and operational.

Objective 4: WTGs, Members and partners of DDE collaborate to carry out data driven studies, analyses and synthesis focused on DDE/SC prioritized questions and problems on evolution of life, evolution of geodynamics, evolution of earth materials and evolution of climate to link and integrate databases and/or create new meta-databases.

Implementation: DDE is not seen as a global program for carrying out new geo and/or data sciences research. But, as the vision and mission of the DDE Science Plan for 2019-2029 states4, DDE aims to transform earth science by harmonizing global geoscience data and sharing global geoscience knowledge that could nurture a deep-time data driven research paradigm. The following quote from the Science article entitled “Earth scientists plan a geological google”3 on the effectiveness of the Chinese Geodiversity Database, initiated in 2006 by the Chinese scientist Fan Junxuan, is informative and could serve as a guide to efforts to deliver specific outputs under this objective:

“Norman MacLeod, a paleobiologist at the Natural History Museum in London who is advising DDE, says GBDB has succeeded where similar efforts have stumbled. In the past, he says, volunteer earth scientists tried to do nearly everything themselves, including informatics and data management. GBDB instead pays nonspecialists to input reams of data gleaned from earth science journals covering Chinese findings. Then, paleontologists and stratigraphers review the data for accuracy and consistency, and information technology specialists curate the database and create software to search and analyze the data. Consistent funding also contributed to GBDB’s success MacLeod says. Although it started small, Fan says GBDB now runs on “several million” yuan per year.”

GBDB resulted from collaboration between palaeontologists and stratigraphers, 2 of the 19 WGs recognized under DDE at present. The challenge during the next 5 years would be to replicate the approach taken by GBDB while being conscious of the need highlighted by the current Chair of DDE GC, Michael Stephenson to ensure that databases resulting from DDE efforts “use the same standards and references”3.

Of the 19 WGs and 8TGs (note: one of the TGs is on “Standards”) some may be better suited to collaborate with one another than others in the sense palaeontology and stratigraphy chose to collaborate in the development of GBDB; data, information, results, outputs of some of the mandate of WTGs perhaps overlap and similarities in the geological aspects investigated by them render data integration easier. The 4E themes and the research questions described under each one of them by the DDE Science Plan for 2019-2029 could serve as a guide to identify the most likely combinations of WGs and TGs which, with necessary support from the DDE cyberinfrastructure group, could generate “easy wins” within the next 5 years in order to raise the recognition and profile of DDE. Currently several initiatives between different WGs, some of them financed by special funds mobilized by the DDE Secretariat via Chinese sources, are underway. It will be useful if the deliverables of these initiatives in terms of creating “new” databases or “integrating” existing databases, referred to in the Table 2 of the paper by Chengshan et al2, are defined more explicitly. Information on comparability of standards of the databases expected to arise from on-going initiatives to that of GBDB and/or others would also be helpful in guiding work under this objective towards specific deliverables.   

The implementation of objective 4 could aim for the following outcomes:

·         DDE SC undertakes a review of ongoing efforts of WTGs to provide GC, EC, the Secretariat and members and partners of DDE an understanding of the range of databases that could be expected to emerge from them and issues and problems related to comparability of standards and other aspects that are likely impact user-friendliness of the databases;

·         DDE SC in consultation with WTGs leaders, members and partners identifies and prioritizes those collaborations between WTGs that have the best chances of delivering successful outcomes similar to that delivered by GBDB within the next 5-year period;

·         SC, in collaboration with the Secretariat identifies and describes the resource needs, including funding, needed for creating at least 5 databases similar to GBDB that has the best chances of success during 2021-2025;

·         Secretariat, in collaboration with the relevant Members and partners mobilizes the necessary resources for creation, testing and validation of at least 5 databases similar to that of GBDB; they could be the result of combining existing databases or establishing new ones where the potential for establishment had been long-recognized but had not been realized due to unavailability of resources and data sciences expertise; and

·         The TG on “Standards” organizes workshops or other gatherings for the SC prioritized collaborations among WTGs ““use the same standards and references”3.

The implementation of actions and activities under objective 4 could deliver the following:

In 2021: (i) SC Committee requests all WTGs and Member organizations to provide a brief description (1-2 pages) of work they would undertake as part of their contributions to DDE. They would be requested to define their expectations on how the outcomes of their work could lead to (a) integration of data they generate into existing databases, and (b) bring together data from two or more WTGs to generate new “meta” databases; (ii) SC Committee reviews all descriptions received from WTGs to establish the 10 best cases of database creation that have the likelihood of success during 2019-2029 of implementation of the DDE Science Plan; and (iii) SC Committee prioritizes the top 5, out of the 10, and invites the concerned WTGs, Members and partners to prepare requests for mobilizing support for financing the top 5 ventures.

In 2022-2023:  (i) Secretariat, in collaboration with concerned WTGs, members and partners launches campaigns to support the top 5 ventures for database establishment; (ii) Support needed for the execution of at least 2 of the 5 generated and the projects for database establishment is mobilized; (iii) Outcome of campaigns to raise support for the remaining three reviewed and changes, including replacing one or more of them whose chances for attracting support deemed minimal being replaced by others from the next 5-best options, made as appropriate; and (iv) Mobilizing ssupport needed for the execution of an additional 2 database creation initiated.

In 2024-2025: (i) Review of the performance of the 2 earliest database creation ventures from the previous biennium and lessons learned shared with members and partners for use in future initiatives; (ii) 2 databases launched and operational with measures for receiving regular feedback from users of the data bases; (iii) Support for creating at least 2 additional databases mobilized and necessary work completed; (iv) identification of additional 5 ventures with high potential for success from the original top 10 identified by SC in 2021 and/or from new opportunities that may have risen since 2021 for support campaigns during the next 5 years of DDE

Objective 5: DDE WTGs, members and partners, use existing data bases and new, integrated data bases developed by DDE to undertake applied, policy relevant studies, analyses and synthesis on natural resources development to enable nations, public and private sector organizations and research and academic institutions to meet UN SDG targets linked to land, water, ocean and energy.

Implementation: DDE Science Plan for 2019-2029 foresees addressing “many applied geological problems associated with prospecting for energy, mineral and water resources thus, helping security of supply and contributing to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)4”. Geosciences relevance to knowledge and applications to energy, minerals, water and ocean resources is clear to most policy and decision makers. Several of the questions that the DDE Science Plan raises under 4E themes are likely to attract interests of Governments, business and civil society organizations as well as the general public. Examples include: how did ecosystems respond to extreme climatic conditions? How did terrestrial ecosystems originate and evolve? Can we predict as yet undiscovered minerals and where they may be found? How do major fluctuations in ocean chemistry affect marine ecosystem evolution? What are the controlling factors of regional versus global sea-level change? What will the earth be like in 2100? etc.

Linking work under this objective to other UN initiatives whose timing coincide with DDE Science Plan for 2019-2029 and UN Agenda 2030 on SDGs will provide DDE the opportunity to develop new partnerships and open access to new databases. As previously noted in the section entitled “DDE current status and building forward”, 2020-2030 is the International Decade on Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development. The International Ocean Discovery Project (IODP) is already a TG of DDE; this could help in DDE/IODP linking up with UNESCO International Oceanographic Commission (IOC), an intergovernmental program that has been operational since 1960 and has accumulated vast volumes of data. Such a partnership may attract other partners, e.g. the Ocean Foundation, committed to the sustainability of ocean resources. There are other UN Decades such as UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2020-2030), UN Decade on Water for Sustainable Development (2018-2028) and the Decade on Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024) either coincide or overlap with DDE Science Plan time horizon and could provide similar opportunities for developing new partnerships and gaining access to new databases.

The DDE Science Plan’s vision to develop a DDE Empowering and Enabling Platform (DEEP) will depend on DDE’s abilities to establish complimentary relations with other existing initiatives. Some such initiatives referred to in the DDE Science Plan, e.g. EarthCube, had expressed reservations about the feasibility of collaborating with DDE. The US National Science Foundation financed EarthCube project focuses on current issues of climate change and biodiversity and biosphere-geosphere interactions and the Director of that Program felt that EarthCube and DDE had “very different objectives with very little overlap”3. Such reticence must be overcome by demonstrating that the work of DDE, through its use of “deep-time” data and knowledge has demonstrable relevance to contributing to contemporary natural resources, ecosystem and climate change problems and challenges.

Actions and activities to implement Objective 5 could lead to the following outcomes:

·         DDE SC takes the lead to convene discussions and invites WTGs to submit brief proposals to develop applied studies and data analyses to address specific questions that relate to water, energy, minerals, land, ecosystems, oceans and other themes that can generate findings and databases relevant to the work UN SDGs and UN decades referred to above;

·         DDE SC, with the approval of GC and EC identifies 5 proposals that relate to energy, minerals, water, ecosystems, ocean and/or land that can attract new partners and give DDE access to complimentary databases and expertise for launching specific initiatives during 2021-2025;

·         DDE SC and the Secretariat determine resource requirements and needs to launch at least 5 initiatives during 2021-2025 timeframe, with due consideration to potential support from UN and other interested partners, establish a priority ranking for the initiatives based on feasibility, strengths and data inputs and the potential tangible results during 2021-2025;

·         Support campaigns for at least 5 initiatives whose expected outcomes having direct benefits to UN initiatives that are linked to delivering on SDGs are launched and their results and outputs widely shared with relevant UN bodies and other users from academic, policy and business communities and the general public.

The implementation of actions and activities under objective 5 could deliver the following

In 2021:  (i) WTGs invited to submit proposals for undertaking for the application of geosciences knowledge and databases to addressing contemporary natural resources issues and problems that could yield results of significance to SDGs and other UN Decades’ work on energy, water and oceans; (ii) SC reviews the proposals to identify the 5 that has the best chances of yielding tangible results within the 2021-2025 period, based on study-concept, partners and their contributions and financial feasibility; and (iii) Secretariat and the prioritized WTGs and their partners initiate support campaigns to mobilize financing for the 5 priority studies in cooperation with UN agency and NGO partners;

In 2022-2023: (i) Funding for at least 2 of the 5 initiatives mobilized and they begin operations; one of the 2 could focus on energy linked databases so as to generate outputs for the Decade on Sustainable Energy for All which ends in 2024; (ii) Continuing efforts to mobilize financing for the other 3 priority ranked projects; (iii) review of efforts to raise funds for the latter 3 projects and replacing any of the three projects which do not show promise for attracting partners or financing with others from the original set of proposal received;

In 2023-2024: (i) Funding for at least 2 additional initiatives mobilized and they are operational; (ii) Review of outputs and results of the original 2 initiatives and their presentation at appropriate UN and other forums to raise profile and recognition of DDE and partner achievements; one of the 2 data bases is linked to the UN Decade on Sustainable Energy for All which ends in 2024; (iii) Based on the experience of 2021-2025, drawing up a plan for strengthening on-going initiatives and launching new ones for the 5-year period from 2026-2030 with priority for feeding results and outputs into the last 5 years of the UN 2030 Agenda on UN SDGs, Decade on Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development and Ecosystem Restoration and the last 3 years of Water for Sustainable Development.

Objective 6: DDE WTGs, Members and partners work collaboratively to raise adequate core funding for DDE Program and mobilize direct and indirect, as well as in-kind and financial support to DDE sponsored projects and activities crucial for the implementation of this 5-year plan and to sustain DDE through to the end of the implementation of the DDE Science Plan for 2019-2029.

Implementation: The current level of direct funding to the DDE Program for 2019-2020 is US$ 660,000 (US$ 320,000/year from the Kunshan Mayoralty in Suzhou hosting the Secretariat and US$ 20,000 by IUGS). DDE Secretariat has raised an additional US$ 200,000 in support 4 projects to be implemented by some of the Founding Members and WTGs. A 5th project is implemented under the banner of DDE, financed by resources of the China Geological Survey (see annex 2 for the details on these 5 projects) under the DDE banner with no cost to DDE.

The distribution of the types of financing described above defines the potential modalities for raising the necessary funding and financial support for the implementation of this 5-year Plan as well: i.e. (i) direct, “unearmarked” funds provided to the DDE Secretariat for use by the DDE Program for any components of plan implementation as recommended by SC and decided by EC/GC; (ii) “earmarked” funds for defined uses, for example data-driven projects under a particular theme or linked to one or more of the objectives 3,4 or 5 of this plan and not for any other DDE Program activities or expenses of the Secretariat; and (iii) a sponsor directly providing human, technological, data and financial support to one or more projects that fall within the framework of this plan and implementing it/them with regular reports and feedback submitted to the Secretariat for information and review by SC, EC and GC.

There may well be other forms of support that could be mobilized. For example, negotiations with suppliers of hardware/software, patent holders of algorithms, models and other analytical tools could lead to DDE WTGs, members and partners receiving equipment and/or rights to use models and tools and no or subsidized cost. When RCEs are operational, a variety of existing fellowship schemes and other arrangements for visiting scientists, both in China and elsewhere, could be used to finance residencies of scientists in the RCEs who could lead/support the implementation of specific initiatives linked to the implementation of this plan. There may be opportunities for young post-doctorals to obtain fellowships from their own national academies to spend time with research institutions in other countries to gain international working experience; such a scheme is operated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences for young post-doctoral fellows.

As the plan implementation proceeds, and activities in relation to the 5 previous objectives begin to deliver tangible products and services DDE may have opportunities to generate revenues through sale of such products and services. Review and regularly updating of DDE Website could also provide on-line opportunities to raise funds and finances.

Activities to implement objective 6 could lead to the following outcomes

·         A preliminary budget for the implementation of this plan is prepared once the drafting of the plan is completed and the contents of the plan had been approved by the GC;

·         WTGs, members and partners are invited to assume, if they wish and are able to do so, responsibilities for raising funds and support for either full or part implementation of specific objectives of the 5-year plan and respond to the DDE Secretariat with their offers and suggestions;

·         DDE Secretariat, based on offers for help for financing the implementation of the plan received from WTGs, members and partners estimates the amount of additional funds that need to be raised for the full implementation of the 5-year plan and prepares a “road-map” for securing those funds through direct, indirect, in-kind and sponsorship modalities;

·         DDE, after the mid-term evaluation of the results and outcomes of this plan by the end of the 30th month (i.e. 2.5 years), revises and updates its “road-map” to ensure continuing financial sustainability for the latter half of this 5 year plan and for an additional duration of 5-years to ensure satisfactory completion of the implementation of the DDE Science Plan by 2029.

The implementation of actions and activities under objective 6 could deliver the following

­In 2021: (i) A preliminary budget for the full implementation of this plan ready by the time of the adoption of this plan by the GC; (ii) WTGs, members and partners indicate their offers to take responsibility for full or part implementation of specific objectives of this 5-year plan; and (iii) DDE Secretariat estimates the amount of additional funding and in-kind support it must raise and prepares a “road map” for mobilizing them.

In 2022-2023: (i) At least 75% of funding and support estimated by the Secretariat delivered for implementation of activities under specific objectives of the 5-year plan; (ii) a review of fund-raising, financing and in-kind support mobilization efforts undertaken to improve performance for following biennium; and (iii) evidence for indications of potential donors and partners expressing readiness to work with DDE Program and interest in funding specific, remaining components of the 5-year plan based on progress in the implementation of the plan to-date.

In 2024-2025: (i) Based on the review carried out during the previous biennium an up-dated “road map” for fund raising and financing ready to be put into effect; (ii) at least 75% of the remaining funds and financial and other support needed for completing the implementation of the plan delivered; and (iii) experience in the strengths and weaknesses in financing the 5-year plan used as a base for preparing an update “road-map” for sustaining funding for another 5 years to ensure the full implementation of the 2019-2029 Science Plan of DDE.

During the latter-half of 2023 a mid-term evaluation of the implementation of the 5-year Plan will be undertaken and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analyzed and the provisional deliverables described for 2024-2025 for all 6 objectives will be revisited and adapted to the prevailing constraints and potentials of the biennium 2024-2025.




The table below includes a list of 25 indicators, derived from the deliverables pertaining to each of the 6 objectives organized in the order of the year(s) of their expected realization. A composite set of 5-10 KPIs, combining the 25 in the table below and others that may be considered critical will be defined after this plan had been reviewed by GC, EC, SC, StC, WTGs, members and partners and provided inputs. The composite set of 5-10 KPIs for evaluating the success of the full implementation of the plan by end of year 5 will included in the final draft of the plan to be adopted by the GC.

Table 1. A compilation of 25 indicators of success linked to the 6 objectives of the 5-year MTP

For 2021:


1.       Partnerships with UN bodies and interested NGOs for developing data bases relevant to UN SDGs and UN Decades on Ocean, Ecosystem, Water and Energy established.

2.       An estimate of the total amount of funds and a budget for its use for the full implementation of the 5-year plan, including WTG, member and/or partner commitments to assume responsibilities for full or part mobilization of funds and support needed to implement specific objectives of this plan (2021).

3.       10 priority data base creation initiatives identified from among proposals submitted by WTGs support campaigns for the top 5 launched (2021-2022) (Objective 4)

4.       Support for launching 5 “new” or “integrated” data bases, one of which linked to the UN Decade on Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024) launched (2021-2022) (Objective 5).


In (2022-2023)


5.       Statutes and bylaws of DDE Program adopted via consensus (2022).

6.       “IGCP Google” and “IGCP Google Scholar” launched to commemorate of 50th anniversary of IGCP designed and implemented jointly by IUGS-UNESCO collaboration (2022).

7.       RCE Suzhou operational (2022), and RCE UK and USA established and operational (2023).

8.       A content-rich DDE Web site catering to a diversity of audiences and linked to other websites of at least 10 members and partners; performance of the website monitored on a monthly basis in terms of frequency and durations of visits of users and other established parameters (2022-2023).

9.       At least 75% of the funding and support needed for the implementation of this plan mobilized (2022-2023)

10.   2 “new” or “integrated” databases with comparable standards and references completed (2023) (objective 4)

11.   Support campaigns for at least 2 for developing 2 additional data bases launched (2023) (Objective 4)

12.   Support campaigns for at least 2 for developing 2 additional data bases launched (2023) (Objective 5)

13.   5 publications from on-going collaboration between WTGs and members and partners initiated since 2019 and with specific inputs from DDE cyberinfrastructure teams to illustrate methods and value of data driven discovery in the geosciences (2023) (objective 4).

14.   Support for completion of work for launching 2 of the 5 data bases, one of which linked to the UN Decade on Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024) mobilized (2022-2023) (objective 5)

15.   5 priority initiatives for developing new data bases linked to the last 5 years of UN SDGs (2026-2030) and UN Decades on Ocean and Ecosystems and the last three years of that on Water identified (2023-2024).

16.   Experience, results and policy relevance of the 5 “new” or “integrated” databases linked to UN SDGs and UN Decades on Ocean, Ecosystem, Water and Energy are used to publish a minimum of 5 academic/scholarly publications and 5 popular science articles (2023-2024) (objective 5)


         In 2024-2025

17.   A DDE publication to mark the end of the UN Decade on Sustainable Energy for All (2024)

18.   Data driven discovery assisted public/visitor education and awareness raising campaigns launched using at least 5 geoparks and/or geological World Heritage sites of China and of selected other countries (2024-2025).

19.   Opportunities for establishing RCEs in 2 other regions of the world identified and work for their establishment underway (2025).

20.   A program for supporting post-doctoral data and geo sciences research fellow in RCEs financed and operational (2025).

21.   At least two additional “new” or “integrated” data bases with comparable standards and references launched (2025) (objective 4).

22.   5 priority initiatives for support campaigns for the 2026-2030 period identified (2025) (objective 4)

23.   Experience, results and policy relevance of at least 4 “new” or “integrated” databases used to publish a minimum of 5 academic/scholarly publications and 5 popular science articles (2025) (objective 4).

24.   Support for completion of work for launching 3 additional data bases mobilized (2023-2024) (objective 5).

25.   High probability for sustaining funding and other support needed for the completion of the DDE Science Plan by 2029 ascertained (2025).




The COVID-19 pandemic and consequences have caused changes in international and national contexts, including those related to priorities for research, funding and program financing opportunities, now (in late 2020) in comparison to the pre-COVID 19, context in February 2019 when DDE was launched. Public health, epidemiology and related research and development themes and issues have risen higher in national and international priorities. Hence, there are risks associated with mobilizing the necessary funding and financial resources for implementation of this 5-year as well as the longer DDE Science Plan for 2019-2029 which focus on the promotion of a new paradigm on data driven discovery in the geosciences. However, a systematic approach to fund raising and financing around priority themes (particularly around objectives 3,4 and 5) for data driven analyses, synthesis and knowledge generation, if supported by DDE Members and partners have a reasonable chance of success. Monitoring the outcome of fund raising and generating other kinds of support need to regularly monitored (objective 6) to make necessary adaptations that could capture previously unforeseen opportunities generated through individuals and organizations connected to DDE and based on its achievements over the next 2-3 years. Budgeting, accounting and auditing procedures of DDE’s financial management must be open and transparent in order to attract potential funds, foundations, private and business sector entities and others who may consider investing resources in DDE.

27 WTGs currently working under the umbrella of DDE (and the number may increase further during the 5-year plan period) rightly have their own preferred themes and issues concerning data driven discovery in geosciences. Setting priorities for receiving support to be mobilized as part of the 5-year plan based on combinations of the ability of WTGs to attract additional partners and some core financing, generating results, products and services of interest to international initiatives such as UN SDGs and other factors relevant to delivering objectives 3,4 and 5 may generate resistance or objections from some WTGs. But DDE cannot, during the implementation of this 5-year plan satisfy the wishes and needs of all the growing number of WTGs, members and partners. Efforts to focus on initiatives that can deliver some “easy-wins” and thereby attract international attention must be given priority over others.

Another risk is insufficient collaboration between the WTGs and DDE cyberinfrastructure participants. Geo and data sciences are peopled by different epistemic communities and networks and they may find collaborating with another is constrained by techniques, vocabulary and other characteristics of their respective disciplinary backgrounds. The example of collaboration that led to the creation of GBDB could hopefully be repeated. All initiatives implemented under this 5-year plan must engage geo and data sciences communities and benefits from expertise and resources of both networks.

For DDE to be seen as a global, data-driven geosciences initiative fresh efforts must be made to engage countries and organizations from the global south. If DDE work, results and outputs are usable only by developed and a few emerging economies then opportunities for fund-raising and financing as well as partnership building for data-access – the most critical element that will determine the success of DDE – may be impacted negatively.




Annual reports on the implementation of the 5-year plan will be presented to EC and GC sessions to ensure problems, constraints and weaknesses are identified and rectified in a timely manner. SC will play a critical role in determining reviewing and recommending prioritized lists of initiatives for approval by GC, particularly in relation to objectives 3,4 and 5. EC and GC may call for special sessions to address some unforeseen issues and problems that may arise during the implementation of the 5-year plan. A mid-term (between 25-30 months of plan implementation) and an end-of-plan (between 55-60 months of plan implementation) will be carried out. GC and EC will jointly determine the nature of these evaluations (internal/external or engaging a hybrid group comprising a mix of internal/external representatives) and will ensure funding needed for conducting the evaluations are included in fund-raising and financing “road-maps” foreseen for development under objective 6 and during the early stages of plan implementation in 2021.




1.       International Union of Geological Sciences Recognized Big Science Program (undated): Deep-time Digital Earth (DDE). IUGS

2.       Chengshan, W. and 16 other authors (undated). Deep-time Digital Earth Program: Data Driven Discovery in the Geosciences. DDE perspective_v30_SA_noEndNote. DDE Centre, Suzhou.

3.       Normile, D. (2019). Earth scientists plan a 'geological Google'. Science 363 (6430) 917. 1 March 2019. DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6430.917 Science 363 (6430)

4.       Deep-time Digital Earth (DDE) 2019-2029. International Union of Geological Sciences Recognized Big Science Program. October 2020. DDE Secretariat, Suzhou, China.

5.       Minutes of the 1st EC session of the DDE Program for brief descriptions as well as ppt presentations on the current state of development of DDE Data, DDE Platform, DDE Scholar and DDE Knowledge. The Minutes could be obtained from the DDE Secretariat.

6.       Minutes of the 1st GC session of the DDE Program for brief descriptions as well as ppt presentations on the current state of development of DDE Data, DDE Platform, DDE Scholar and DDE Knowledge. The Minutes could be obtained from the DDE Secretariat.