The International Council for Science (ICSU) vision explicitly recognises the value of data and information to science and particularly emphasises the urgent requirement for universal and equitable access to high quality scientific data and information. A universal public domain for scientific data and information will be transformative for both science and society. Over the last several years, two ad-hoc ICSU committees, the Strategic Committee on Information and Data (SCID) and the Strategic Coordinating Committee on Information and Data (SCCID), produced key reports that make 5 and 14 recommendations respectively aimed at improving universal and equitable access to data and information for science and providing direction for key international scientific bodies, such as the Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) as well as a newly ratified (by ICSU in 2008) formation of the World Data System. This contribution outlines the framing context for both committees based on the changed world scene for scientific data conduct in the 21st century. We include details on the relevant recommendations and important consequences for the worldwide community of data providers and consumers, ultimately leading to a conclusion, and avenues for advancement that must be carried to the many thousands of data scientists world-wide.