Objectives and working methods


To achieve its goals, the RCN has defined a series of objectives:

  • Motivate commitments to sustaining ocean and marine observing systems
  • Stimulate inter-disciplinary cooperation for both observations and analyses
  • Facilitate open exchange of ocean data
  • Promote interoperability
  • Improve the flow of critical ocean observation information to key stakeholders
  • Stimulate capacity building and retention in ocean and marine observations community

The RCN will also consider related issues such as integration of space-based and in-situ measurements, and innovative concepts in sensors, information systems and user interfaces. Additional subjects may be proposed by the network members.

In achieving these objectives, the RCN will motivate new research outcomes, provide wider visibility for the value and impacts of ocean observations and encourage a new generation of scientists to focus on the oceans and their challenges.

Working Method

The RCN is primarily a forum to address issues of enhancing ocean observation and information. It is not a body chartered to undertake new scientific research. Issues engaged by the RCN will be addressed by the body as a whole (Plenary) or through working groups (WG) constituted by the RCN. A working group will generally focus on one of the objectives cited above and will produce a report clearly identifying the issues, approaches, impacts and recommendations for achieving the objective(s).

Working groups will have a defined term of operation, generally six months (renewable), to assess issues and then submit their recommendations for review by the Plenary. The reviewed recommendations will be provided to international, national and program level organizations for consideration and possible implementations.

Working Groups will be constituted by members of the network and other invited experts. They will create Terms of Reference including objectives, a schedule, an operations modality and a list of deliverables. Network members may serve on multiple working groups. In their deliberations, the working groups may invite external experts to make presentations and provide background on issues being addressed.

Working Environment

The RCN working environment will be as follows:

1. The RCN will operate primarily through electronic information exchange. The RCN will have websites, discussion forum and other tools for communication and collaboration.

2. The RCN will meet three times per year, two virtual meetings and an annual in-person meeting.

3. The RCN Plenary will review and comment on the WG reports prior to their forwarding to appropriate parties.

4. The RCN will work closely with existing coordination bodies and mechanisms for ocean and marine observations. Coordination with existing networks will be facilitated by members of the Steering Committee and senior network members whose organizations are participating in existing networks such as those under UNESCO IOC and GEO.