Contributed by guest blogger Daniel Stover, Program Manager, Terrestrial Ecosystem Sciences.

In the fall of 2014, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science rolled out a statement on Digital Data Management. This statement provides a foundation for more specific data management requirements from individual programs within the Office of Science.

The Office of Science statement recognizes the importance of effective data management and that data generated from the outstanding science we support has the potential to increase the pace of scientific discovery. Proper data management has the potential to promote more efficient and effective use of government funding and resources, thus sharing and preserving data are central to protecting the integrity of science. Ultimately, the Office of Science states that data sharing should make digital research data available to and useful for the scientific community, industry, and the public. As a result, all proposals submitted to DOE’s Office of Science must include a Data Management Plan that describes how data resulting from the funding will be shared and preserved while preserving personal privacy.

While this Plan provides a broad set of principles and requirements, the Climate and Environmental Sciences Division (CESD) has more specific requirements. Beginning in 2011, CESD established a set of data management requirements that are consistent with those of other U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) agencies. These requirements begin by recognizing that research data obtained through public funding are a public trust, and that, as such, these data must be publicly accessible. The CESD data requirements address the preservation, documentation, quality assurance and archiving of data acquired with CESD funding.

The Office of Science Statement on Digital Data Management requires that “all research data displayed in publications resulting from the proposed research (be) digitally accessible at the time of publication.”
In this context, research data is defined as the data required to validate the published results. The exclusive use period for additional research data is defined to be one year after the end of the data acquisition period for the proposed performance period of the award but exceptions to extend this period may be justified for unique or extenuating circumstances.

Ultimately, our goal is to recognize that data acquired with public funding should be made publicly available in a form and on a site that is readily accessible, recognizing a need for limited, exclusive use by the collecting scientist(s). CESD supports a number of data repositories (such as CDIAC; and encourages their use to meet these guidelines. DOE is pleased that the AmeriFlux Network is actively engaged and proactively thinking about best practices to share data with the community in an efficient and timely manner.

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