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The World Data Center
system was created to archive and distribute data collected from the observational programs of the 1957-1958 International Geophysical Year
The International Geophysical Year was an international scientific project that lasted from July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958. It marked the end of a long period during the Cold War when scientific interchange between East and West was seriously interrupted...
. Originally established in the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...
, Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....
, and Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...
, the WDC system has since expanded to other countries and to new scientific disciplines. The WDC system now includes 52 Centers in 12 countries.
WDCs are funded and maintained by their host countries on behalf of the international science community. All data held in WDCs are available for the cost of copying and sending the requested information.