GLOBEC used a decentralised data management system. Metadata is held in a central database and individual projects have been responsible for quality control and archiving their data. The GLOBEC Data Policy was drafted in early 2000; it focused on data and metadata sharing, the responsible archiving of data and inventory and cataloguing activities. The portal gave National and Regional GLOBEC programmes a framework from which to construct their own detailed data management policies and to address issues such as long term archival of the data. The metadata is an important part of the GLOBEC legacy and it is hoped that it will make a lasting contribution to marine science.