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Research Data Management

The Informatics and Technology team at the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University provides tools and support for our researchers throughout the life of the research project, and beyond. This support includes assistance on: data collection methods, database design, data storage, data documentation, and data submission.

Data Storage

By default, we provide a Dropbox Team folder for data and project documents for Institute-affiliated projects. By setting up a team folder, we reduce the need to manage Dropbox access in the event of personnel changes and ensure the data are available throughout the life of the project. Please contact the Informatics and Technology team to discuss your requirements.

How to Publish Your Data

The expectation of many funding agencies and academic journals is that the data associated with your research will be made publicly accessible. Publication of your data is expected either upon publication of your article or within a reasonable time after the research concludes. Data products may include, but are not limited to:

  • raw data collected during field work (pre-processing)
  • 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 (data about your data). Most of this valuable information will have been collected during the course of your study, and it will need to be part of the published data package to enable a third party to understand your data.

Preparing Data for Publication

Tabular Data:
By default tabular data are published in .csv format. These types of data products include spreadsheets, databases, and machine outputs such a sensor data.

Spatial Data and Imagery:
Spatial data and imagery are normally published in proprietary format, i.e. ESRI, .TIFF, or .IMG

Preparing Metadata

We prepare metadata in XML format using the . These metadata files are stored with the data and each metadata entry is accessible via the Institute data portal.

For each discreet piece of research:
Complete the following form, which contains information about the project, study subject, and period. This is the type of information that might be common to your overall research study. This information potentially describes the data package we will produce even though this data package may consist of multiple items.

For each data table, spreadsheet worksheet, or machine output (tabular data):
Please complete an attribute metadata table in this form, which details the characteristics of the data (e.g., format, units, etc).

For each spatial file (GIS data):
Our recommendation for spatial data is to populate the metadata component of your spatial file. ArcCatalog allows you to enter metadata for each layer in FGDC format.

For each image file (satellite data, aerial imagery, LIDAR, etc.):
Each image file essentially contains tabular data with discreet values. The data table form can be used to describe this type of file.

Final submission

The completed form(s) should be submitted along with the dataset(s) to for processing and publication.

If you do not know the required information, or need help completing these forms, please contact the for assistance.

What are 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 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

Most Institute datasets generated by Institute-affiliated projects will fall into this category including:

  • All long-term monitoring data associated with core research areas
  • All metadata documentation for all LTER data (including restricted datasets)

Restricted Data

Restricted data are exceptional 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 Informatics team.

  • Datasets generated by thesis research of graduate students who may not be held responsible for the above policy for publication of data
  • Datasets in which some or all of the data are subject to copyright restrictions imposed by non-LTER institutions

Timetable for Release of Data

Public Data

These data will be documented and made freely available within a reasonable time after collection. The target time frame for public datasets will be generally two years. Some datasets will require more effort than others to be prepared and thus may be expected to take longer. A target release data will be specified in the project research design.

  • Core monitoring data – two years from collection
  • Special research data associated with core research activities – two-three years from collection

Restricted Data

The terms and time table for publication of restricted data will be stated in the research design for the individual project. Exceptions to the time table 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 Research Data


All public datasets and accompanying metadata (size permitting) will be made available for query and download via an interactive application running on the Institute web site. These datasets will be indexed in the searchable data catalog, as well as be discoverable through the Environmental Data Initiative website and the Data One website. Completion of the internet data publication process will constitute satisfaction of the federal publication requirement for datasets and metadata.

User Registration

Users of our data will be requested to complete a short user registration form and to “sign in” each time they access data from the GIOS catalog. Users will access this form during the download process. The purpose of user registration is to ensure that the user has viewed the 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 GIOS Data

  • While the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability will make every effort possible to control and document the quality of the data it publishes, the data are made available “as is.” The Institute 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. The Institute expects that any use of data from this server will be accompanied with the appropriate citations and acknowledgments.
  • We encourage users to contact the original investigator responsible for the data that they are accessing. Where appropriate, researchers whose projects are integrally dependent on Institute data are encouraged to consider collaboration and/or co-authorship with original investigators.
  • We request that users submit to the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University, PO Box 875402, Tempe, AZ 85287-5402, one copy of any publication resulting from the use of data obtained from this site.
  • We also request that users not redistribute data obtained from this site. However, links or references to this site may be freely posted.

Research Data Contacts

Research Data Manager, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
Information Manager, Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-term Ecological Research Project, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
Instructor, School of Sustainability

Senior Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
Research Data Management Officer, Knowledge Enterprise
Instructor, School of Sustainability