Ecological Data Management Policy
Many ecological research
projects have been conducted on the Idaho National
Laboratory (INL) since 1950. These data provide a valuable
research tool to researchers desiring to conduct ecological
investigations on the INL or similar habitats. The purpose
of this policy is to set guidelines for proper archive and
use of these data.
The open dissemination of ideas and data is fundamental to
the advancement of science. Publication in peer-reviewed
journals has been the traditional method for sharing data;
however, unreduced data is rarely reported in these
articles. The unreduced data are often necessary for use in
new analyses or synthesis works. In addition, in the last
few decades there has been an effort to prepare for
assessing ecological phenomena at long-term time scales.
This necessitates the need for appropriate data management
systems to ensure that the data collected now ill be
available for future use. We cannot predict how or for what
specific purposes future researchers or natural resource
managers will use the data, but we do recognize that the
small amount of historic data that we do have has proven to
be of great utility.
Researchers today have an obligation to future researchers
and resource managers and those collecting ecological data
on the INL recognize their obligation to archive and share
that data. Researchers using the INL agree to allow their
data to be archived and made available for future use.
There are five objectives for the Ecological Data Management
Program. They are:
- To ensure that data are
archived with adequate documentation (metadata).
- To ensure that data
archives are of high quality (especially manually entered
- To ensure that data are
archived in a timely fashion (prevents loss of data).
- To ensure proper
back-up of the data archive.
- To facilitate access to
The ESER Data Manager,
NERP Coordinator and/or the ESER Program Manager will be
responsible for day-to-day decisions regarding data
management. Their actions would be subject to normal
administrative review and evaluation.
This Ecological Data Management Program Policy addresses
three issues: data archive, data availability, and
intellectual property rights.
All investigators funded
by DOE to collect data on the INL are required to provide
their data to the ESER Data Manager immediately. All
Investigators collecting data on the INL are asked to
provide data in a reasonable amount of time (two years
following observations or completion of study).
Investigators who do not provide data within a reasonable
amount of time will be denied further access to the INL
until the data are submitted. Investigators will supply
detailed metadata in the format specified by the ESER Data
Manager for each dataset collected.
There are two types of
data. “Freely Available” data are data sets that are
available without restraint based on acceptance of the Data
Use Agreement (see below). These data are generally
associated with short-term projects. These data will
generally be made available 2-3 years following collection.
“Restricted Data” will have restricted access, but at some
point may be converted to “Freely Available” data. These may
be long-term data that require longer data collection
periods for trends to emerge. These may be short-term
project data collected by graduate students who have not yet
completed theses or published manuscripts. These data may
refer to sensitive resources such as threatened and
endangered species locations. These data may be restricted
due to issues of national security. These may be data
restricted for issues of legality such as copyright
ownership. Restricted Data collected specifically for the
Conservation Management Plan may be used immediately at the
discretion of the ESER Program Manager for purposes of
conservation planning. Metadata on all projects will be
provided to any requester without restriction.
Investigator Intellectual Property Rights Protection
Publication in a refereed
journal represents the first “best” sharing of data and this
policy recognizes that by including provisions in this
policy to ensure investigators have reasonable opportunity
for first use and publication of their data. This is
especially important for graduate students who have few data
sets to their credit. Data collected for the CMP will be
made available immediately for use in preparing the CMP.
This does not preclude the data from being published by the
original investigator at a later date in a technical journal
or other publication. This data will not be disseminated
further than its use in conservation planning until the
original investigator has had opportunity to publish.
It is considered a matter of professional ethics to
acknowledge the work of other scientists.
Therefore, researchers using the INL request acknowledgement
in subsequent distribution or publication of any work
derived from these data sets. Data users are strongly
encouraged to consider consultation, collaboration and/or
co-authorship with the original investigators. Anyone other
than the originating investigator wishing to use data must
agree to the following data use agreement.
Data Use Agreement
Data sets made available
by ESER researchers may be used for academic, research,
recreational, and other professional purposes. Permission to
use the data sets is provided without a fee subject to the
following terms. The data user will:
- Notify the ESER Data
Manager as well as the designated contact (e.g. Principal
Investigator or Data Set Contact) when any derivative work
based on or derived from the data and documentation is
- Notify users that such
derivative work is a modified version and not the original
data and documentation distributed by the ESER program.
- Not redistribute
original data and documentation.
- Acknowledge the support
of the Idaho NERP and the Department of Energy in any
publications using these data and documentation using the
following citation. “Data for XXX was supported by the
Environmental Surveillance, Education and Research Program
of the Department of Energy – Idaho Operations Office ";
where XXX is the list of data sets used in the
publications, reports or proposals.
- Acknowledge the name(s)
of the investigator(s) responsible for collection of the
original data set.
- Provide opportunity for
ESER review of documents based on these data prior to
publication. Request reviews through ESER Data Manager.
- Send two reprints or
electronic format of any reports or publications resulting
from use of the data and documentation to the following
ESER Data Manager
120 Technology Drive
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
- Some older, “Legacy”
data sets may not yet be in a condition suitable for
distribution for a number of reasons
- Older data sets may
not have been converted to electronic format.
- Some data sets may
not have proper metadata.
- Some data sets may
not have had proper QA.
- The potential value
of these data may be great, but significant resources
may be required to prepare these data for distribution.
These data sets can be made available if funding is
provided to properly develop these data sets.
- By using or copying
these data and documentation, the Data User agrees to
abide by the terms of this agreement. The ESER program
shall have the right to terminate this agreement
immediately by written notice upon the Data User’s breach
of, or non-compliance with, or any misuse that is caused
or encouraged by the Data User’s failure to abide by the
terms of this agreement.
- Disclaimer: While
substantial efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of
data and documentation, complete accuracy of data sets
cannot be guaranteed. All data are made available “as is.”
The ESER Program, DOE or its affiliates shall not be
liable for damages resulting from any use or
misinterpretation of data sets.
Data will not be released
without agreement of the investigator responsible for
collecting the data. Investigator responsible for collecting
data will be allowed a reasonable amount of time for
exclusive use. Requests for access to data should be made to
the ESER Data Manager.
Management Policy (pdf format)