GOOS is a programme executed by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the UNESCO, but its success relies on the coordinated contributions of several people and organizations worldwide.
The GOOS governance model is divided in three tiers: a multinational Steering Committee to provide oversight, scientific Expert Panels to guide system requirements, and Observation Coordination Groups that implement global unified network execution. The GOOS Project Office facilitates the collaboration between these different governance bodies.
Three discipline-based GOOS Expert Panels provide scientific oversight on Physics, Biogeochemistry, and Biology and Ecosystems. Expert Panels are central in the GOOS work structure, as they focus on the dispersed GOOS Networked observations, acting as a liaison and advocate for users and collaborators at local, national, and regional scales.
System-based evaluations can lead to finite lifetime observing system development projects. These projects often involve several expert panels and aim to either address an old system in need of renovation or a globally recognized scientific gap, thus increasing the readiness level of the observing system.