Data become the responsibility of NSIDC through a variety of official program agreements, formal and informal PI relationships, data rescue projects, and data exchanges. Thus, data can be both solicited and tendered, can arrive with or without funding for publication and archival, and can have various degrees of value to current and future user communities. New additions to the NSIDC catalog begin with identifying the data to be added and source of funding, followed by appraisal and acquisition phases.
Scope of Data Acceptance
The scope of NSIDC data management is currently defined as cryospheric data and data from programs or instruments deemed of importance to the cryospheric community. This includes traditional scientific data, as well as local and community knowledge. However, unique program and project needs may also be considered.
NSIDC's collection scope encourages NSIDC to be an active collector of data. NSIDC and the programs that make up NSIDC may actively solicit new data sets for archival and distribution. Many programs for which NSIDC is the official data archive are funded to solicit data from data providers. Submission forms for PIs and other data providers are available on the NSIDC Web site. Details of current programs soliciting data may be found on the NSIDC Web site.
For some programs, NSIDC will not archive all of the data, but will archive only the metadata that describes the data and gives the data location.
Data submission forms encourage the submission of data to NSIDC, while informing data providers and repositories that the submission serves only to begin a discussion of the appropriateness of the material for NSIDC, timeline for publication and archival, and the costs involved. When a data submission form has been received by NSIDC for a data set not covered by any specific program, the Senior Management Team or their appointed representative will review the submission. Acceptance policies are outlined below.
Data are accepted under a specific agreement that spells out the rights and responsibilities of NSIDC, the funding program, and the data provider. This agreement may be in the form of a Deed of Gift executed at time of data submission, or other documentation, such as a formal program document which defines the terms of acceptance, level of service, and long-term archive.
Considerations include terms or restrictions of use; terms of dispersal should the data be retired, deleted, or updated; funding for archiving and support; and documentation requirements, including context and provenance. NSIDC may also require data to be submitted in acceptable formats.
Program Data and Agency Requests
Each program at NSIDC has an individual whose responsibilities include the collection, verification, archival and publication of new data. Program Managers or their representatives follow both NSIDC policies and their program's policies for data management.
NSIDC serves as the sole archive of cryospheric data, and of data of importance to the cryospheric community, for many agencies. Data are occasionally submitted from, or at the request of, one of these agencies. In many cases, the rights and responsibilities of NSIDC and the funding program are spelled out in the contract or grant. In other cases it will be necessary to pursue a separate agreement with the funding program to provide a blanket Deed of Gift or equivalent document covering all relevant data sets. In these cases, the NSIDC program solicits name and contact information as well as data set context and provenance information from the data provider, provides information about NSIDC's implied rights and responsibilities to the data provider, and solicits agreement or disapproval of these rights and responsibilities from the data provider. If the data provider does not agree to the rights and responsibilities that are standard for that program, the NSIDC program must pursue an individual data set Deed of Gift in order to accept the data.
PI-Tendered Data Management Requests
Many data sets come to NSIDC as a result of PI offerings that are unrelated to any program. The NSIDC Senior Management Team (SMT) or their representative will review these data sets and determine their appropriateness within NSIDC and the appropriate NSIDC program to which they should be affiliated.
While NSIDC prefers that all data sets come to NSIDC with identified funding for their continuation and management, we recognize that occasionally data of value to the cryospheric community need archiving, but lack specific funding or support. When possible, the SMT or designated NSIDC program works with the data provider to identify possible future funding opportunities, such as data rescue or exchange. If the SMT or designated NSIDC program feels that the value of the data is great enough, the data are accepted as "orphan" and given a lower level of service to support it. (Please see Levels of Service.) The SMT or designated NSIDC Program will continue to examine future funding opportunities to ensure the proper long-term management of the data at a higher level of service.
In the appraisal of new, PI-tendered data, the SMT considers the following:
- Appropriateness to NSIDC's mission statement and collection scope
- Its relationship to other data archived at NSIDC and thus its ability to illuminate or increase the value of existing data
- The cost of archiving the data (including space and resource needs)
- The value in strengthening bonds with funding agents and other agencies
- Outreach opportunities that fit within the NSIDC Outreach goals and objectives
Targets of Opportunity
The cryospheric community may also alert NSIDC to valuable data related to our holdings, being generated by a current or upcoming research project. NSIDC may reach out to the individuals involved to determine the appropriateness of the forthcoming data, and the SMT makes sure that proper data management policies are involved in the transfer of these data to NSIDC.
On occasion, NSIDC receives data from a data provider in exchange for NSIDC data products, to encourage international cooperation and dissemination of NSIDC data. The SMT's appraisal of these data determines their appropriateness within NSIDC and the appropriate program to which they should be affiliated. It is recognized that these data seldom have available funding for archival processes.
Some data sets and data products within the collection scope of the Center are created in-house by NSIDC personnel. The acceptance of these data sets requires the same process as does the acceptance of new data, and steps are taken to ensure a high quality product that maintains its ties, through metadata and documentation, to the original or raw data product.