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Policy for Oceanographic Data, NSF 94-126


1. This statement updates and revises guidelines to implement Federal data policy by assuring timely submission of high quality oceanographic data to the national data centers for secondary use. Guidelines for oceanographic data were first issued by the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE) in October 1988.


2. Ocean data collected under Federal sponsorship and identified as appropriate for submission to a national data center are to be made available within a reasonable time as described below.

Responsibilities of Principal Investigators

3. Principal investigators are required to submit all environmental data collected to the designated national data centers as soon as possible, but no later than two (2) years after the data are collected. Inventories of all marine environmental data collected should be submitted to the designated national data centers within sixty (60) days after the observational period/cruise. For continuing observations, data inventories should be submitted periodically if there is a significant change in location, type or frequency of such observations. Inventory forms (Report of Observations and Samples Collected on Oceanographic Programs, (ROSCOP) and instructions are supplied by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service (NESDIS), based on lists of investigators provided to NOAA/NESDIS by funding agencies.

4. Data sets identified for submission to the national data centers must be submitted to the designated center within two (2) years after the observational period. This period may be extended under exceptional circumstances by agreement between the principal investigator and NSF. Data produced by long-term (multi-year) projects are to be submitted annually. Principal investigators working in coordinated programs may (in consultation with their funding agencies) establish more stringent data submission procedures to meet the needs of such programs.

5. NOAA's National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service staff and program representatives from funding agencies will identify the data sets that are likely to be of high utility and will require their principal investigators to submit these data and related information to the designated center.

6. Funding agencies will apply this policy to their internal ocean data collection and research programs and to their contractors and grantees and will establish procedures to enforce this policy.

7. A list of oceanographic data types and the centers designated to receive them are the following:

         National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)
         Federal Building
         151 Patton Avenue
         Asheville NC 28801-5001
         Phone: (828) 271-4800
         Fax: (828) 271-4876 8. Data are to be submitted according to formats and via the media designated by the pertinent national data center.

9. Principal investigators and ship-operating institutions are also responsible for meeting all legal requirements for submission of data and research results, which are imposed by foreign governments as a condition of that government's granting research clearances. Each principal investigator and institution must determine their legal obligations in this respect, with the assistance of the Department of State and sponsoring Federal agencies, as necessary.

10. Data-submission policies for U.S. WOCE, U.S. Global Ocean Ecosystems Dynamics (GLOBEC), U.S. JGOFS, and ODP are the following:

NOTE: The addresses provided (as of October 1999) may change. Please check with relevant program managers of the NSF Division of Ocean Sciences if necessary.

10.A. U.S. WOCE

All WOCE data shall be made available no later than two (2) years after collection, unless specifically waived by the international WOCE Scientific Steering Group (SSG). However, several WOCE programs require principal investigators to submit data collected to a Data Assembly Center (DAC) for the purposes of quality control and data synthesis within shorter time periods. Detailed program requirements for data submission may be found in WOCE Report No.104/93, WOCE Data Management, available from:

U.S. WOCE Office

         Texas A&M University
         Department of Oceanography
         Mail Stop 3146
         College Station, TX 77843-3146
         Phone: 409-845-1443
         Fax: 409-845-0888

In addition to the data submission requirements mentioned in this document, the U.S. GLOBEC Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) requires all principal investigators to submit plans for the collection of data to the U.S. GLOBEC Data Management Office (DMO) at least three (3) months prior to execution of a sampling program. Specifics to be included in the data collection plan are detailed in U.S. GLOBEC Data Policy, Report Number 10, February 1994, available from:

U.S. GLOBEC Scientific Steering Committee Coordinating Office

          UMCES/ Chesapeake Biological Laboratory
          P.O. Box 38/ One Williams Street
          Solomons, MD 20688
          Phone: (410) 326-7370
          Fax: (410) 326-7341
Principal investigators are responsible for documenting measurement and analysis techniques used to produce data sets and estimating accuracy and precision of these measurements. Specific physical measurements must be acquired along with all biological measurements and must meet pre-defined standards (see Report No. 10). In addition, the report specifies requirements for preservation of biological samples, including for the purpose of subsequent genetic analysis.

Data from measurements which do not involve manual analysis and which would be useful to the scientific community must be submitted by the principal investigator to the DMO within six (6) months after collection. All other measurements and any standard analyses of these measurements must be available to the community within one (1) year after collection. PIs will submit data either directly to the DMO or by placing it on-line as a U.S. GLOBEC distributed database. Format standards for submission of data and development of the database will be specified by the DMO. The DMO will serve as an intermediate archival location and data source and will transfer data to the NODC and prepare necessary documentation for data collected in foreign waters.

10.C. U.S. JGOFS

U.S. JGOFS chief scientists are required to submit all data to the Data Management Office (DMO) within one (1) year after the sampling date. However, data derived from long analytical procedures (e.g. 228Ra) which prevent the researcher from being able to readily analyze/publish can be exempted from this one (1) year requirement. In addition, final versions of Basic Core Measurements (i.e. temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen) must be received by the DMO within six (6) months after the sampling date. Again, some exceptions can be made for data requiring extensive analyses. However, all principal investigators making core measurements are urged to make their data available as quickly as possible. When submitting data to the JGOFS Distributed Data Management System (DDMS), Program principal investigators have two options: 1.) to store data locally serving as a host node on the DDMS, or 2.) to submit data to the U.S. JGOFS Data Management Office (DMO) and they will serve the data. CO2 measurements should be submitted to the WOCE World Hydrographic Programme (WHP). More detailed information on the U.S. JGOFS requirements for data submission are available from:

U.S. JGOFS Planning and Data Management Office

          GEOSECS Building
          MS 43
          Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
          Woods Hole, MA 02543-1535
          Phone: (508) 289-2497
          Fax: (508) 457-2161

The Ocean Drilling Program supports regional geological and geophysical field studies which can be used to develop mature drilling proposals in the Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling (JOIDES) system. The geological and geophysical data from these projects are a primary source of information in planning drilling and should be available for review by the Site Survey and Pollution Prevention and Safety panels of JOIDES. Site survey data requirements for mature drilling proposals are identified in the JOIDES Journal issue titled, "Guide to the Ocean Drilling Program." Additionally, such data can be important in interpreting the results of a drilling leg and should be available to cruise participants.

Successful applicants are expected to deposit data from their cruises in the Ocean Drilling Program Site Survey Data Bank at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in addition to other data archiving requirements described in this document (7.C.). The address is the following:

ODP Logging Service

          Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
          Palisades, New York 10964
          Phone: (914) 365-8343
          Fax: (914) 365-3182
At the earliest possible date, the chairperson of the JOIDES Site Survey Panel, the manager of the Data Bank, and the representative of the appropriate national data center should be notified of the data types and schedule for submission.

The Ocean Drilling Program also supports more limited data collection activities through the U.S. Science Support Program administered by the Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI). Data reporting requirements under this program are the same as those identified above.

11. Federal agencies which engage in and/or fund data collection will promote quality control of ocean data which they and their contractors and grantees collect. Each national data center will:

The Foundation has TDD (Telephonic Device for the Deaf) capability, which enables individuals with hearing impairment to communicate with the NSF Information Center about NSF programs, employment, or general information. The telephone number is (703) 306-0090.