Data Policy

GEOTRACES seeks, on the one hand, protection of the intellectual effort and time of originating investigators (those who plan an experiment, collect, calibrate, and process a data set to answer some questions about the ocean), and on the other hand, the need to compare various data sets and data types to check their consistency, to better understand the ocean processes involved, and to see how well the numerical models describe the real ocean.

We stress that data will not be released without the permission of the originator. But it is expected for originators to follow GEOTRACES policy described below.

Data/Metadata Submission (timeline):

• Once the cruise is funded, the chief scientist or the lead GEOTRACES scientist must inform the GEOTRACES Data Assembly Centre (GDAC, and the International Project Office (IPO, that the cruise has been funded.

•  Within one week of cruise completion:

  • Submit Postcruise metadata forms from chief scientist
  • Submit electronic versions (scanned or original) of event log and log sheets
  • Submit copy of ROSCOP/CSR form where one is required by ship operator

•  Within 6 months of end of cruise:

  • Chief scientist submits cruise report, where one is required by ship operator
  • Data and metadata for shared ancillary parameters (e.g., nutrients) submitted to DAC*
  • Submit CTD and underway data (both raw and processed files; sensor information and calibration) to national DAC (e.g., BCO-DMO) and BODC.

•  As soon as possible, and no more than 2 years after data generation:

  • Submit all data sets and accompanying metadata to DAC*

*DAC:  In most cases, data will be submitted initially to a national data centre (DAC).  Where no national DAC is available, information should be submitted directly to the GDAC at BODC.

Data Access (timeline):

•  Precruise metadata will be publicly accessible (GDAC web site) as soon as it is available

•  Any metadata and data produced during the cruise/process study should be made available to participating scientists immediately in preliminary form during the cruise/process study.

•  Any data generated from a cruise and submitted to the DAC will be password protected and available only to registered users (data originators and their designated collaborators) until the public release date.

Prior to public release, all data will be considered preliminary.  Data should be shared with other cruise/process study participants as soon as they become available during or after a cruise or process study, to enable data synthesis to proceed rapidly, with the understanding that the data are the proprietary material of the originating scientist and may not be used without their permission. However, for non-participating scientists the data can be obtained only with the permission of the responsible participating scientist.

Proprietary period
Most nations have rules about data release that are imposed by funding agencies. GEOTRACES will adhere to these rules. In addition, we expect that all data will be released within two years of data generation, or at the time of publication (whichever is sooner). Exceptions are possible in the case of data forming a part of a student’s thesis.

Adherence to this data policy is expected of all scientists participating in national and international GEOTRACES activities. Exceptions to this GEOTRACES policy may be allowed; e.g., where the policy is overridden by national constraints on data access.