We adhere to the standards of the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites, and what is described below is a slightly modified version of their policies and descriptions of data, see for instance CAP LTER.
As part of our funding commitments to the Research Council of Norway (RCN), UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, the Fram Centre and NINA, projects such as COAT are required to make as much research data as possible publicly available. In COAT we aim to publish all research data unless limited by either privacy or license restrictions. Our commitment to data access includes the provision of metadata to enable data users to assess the content and significance of the data they download, as well as codes necessary to produce the summary analyses, tables and plots that in time will be provided on the COAT web site. Currently the COAT data portal is under development, and will be made available via these pages in due time.
Data Use Policies
A dataset is considered to consist of data resulting from a single research project. A dataset is considered to be incomplete without accompanying documentation (metadata) that provides all information necessary to evaluate the quality of the data and to make use of it in future research activities. Publication of a dataset is to make it available to the broader research community.
Classes of Data
Public Data (LTER Type I data)
Most COAT datasets will fall into this category including:
- All long-term monitoring data associated with core activities described in the COAT Science Plan.
- All metadata documentation for all COAT data (including restricted datasets).
Restricted Data (LTER Type II data)
Restricted data are datasets that are available only with permission from the PI/investigator(s). These are rare in occurrence and justification for restrictions will be well documented by the lead PI and the COAT Data manager. Restricted data also includes datasets in which some or all of the data are subject to copyright restrictions imposed by providing institutions
Timetable for Release of Data
These data will be documented and made freely available within a reasonable time after collection. The target frame for public datasets will generally be within 2 years from collection and no later than the publication of the main findings from the dataset. Some datasets will require more effort than others to prepare and may thus be expected to take longer. A target release date will be specified in the project research design.
The terms and timetable for publication of restricted data will be stated in the research design for the individual project. Exceptions to the timetable for public data will be noted and justified. Metadata descriptions for these data are treated as public data subject to flexible timetables.
Media and Format for Release of COAT Data
All public datasets and accompanying metadata will be made available for query and download via an interactive application running on the COAT web site. Completion and maintenance of the internet data publication will constitute satisfaction of the publication requirement for datasets and metadata.
Users of COAT data will be requested to complete a short user registration form and to “sign in” each time they access data from the COAT database. Users will access this form during the download process. The purpose of user registration is to ensure that the user has viewed the COAT guidelines for acceptable use and has indicated his/her acceptance of those guidelines. Registration will neither impair access to public data nor result in a charge for access. It is implemented merely as a courtesy to the intellectual rights of those who generated the data. Information collected will include name, institution, and contact information. A free user account will be created to avoid having to fill out the registration information for repeat visits.
Guidelines for Acceptable Use of COAT Data
While COAT will make every effort possible to control and document the quality of the data we publish, the data are made available “as is.” COAT cannot assume responsibility for damages resulting from misuse or misinterpretation of datasets or from errors or omissions that may exist in the data.
It is considered a matter of professional ethics to acknowledge the work of other scientists that has resulted in data used in subsequent research. COAT expects that any use of data from this server will be accompanied with the appropriate citations and acknowledgments.
COAT encourages users to contact the original investigator responsible for the data that they are accessing. Where appropriate, researchers whose projects are integrally dependent on COAT data are encouraged to consider collaboration and/or co-authorship with original investigators.
COAT requests that users not redistribute data obtained from this site. However, links or references to this site may be freely posted.
Examples of COAT research products to be published include:
- Raw data collected during field work (pre-processing)
- The models (code, batch files, etc.) used to process these data
- Spatial data files
- Classified or processed remotely sensed images
- Supporting documentation (additional notes, photos, etc.)
- Interviews and codebooks
- Laboratory analysis outputs (text files, .csv)
Each product submitted whether it be tabular data or one of these other products, should be supplied with metadata. Metadata in XML format will be using international standards such as the Ecological Metadata Standard. These metadata files will be stored with the data and each metadata entry will be accessible via the COAT data portal.