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September 09, 2009

The Proposal

UMBS Data Management Policy: DRAFT FOR COMMENT

Provided by
Kyle Kwaiser - Information Manager, UM Biological Station
Knute Nadelhoffer - Director, UM Biological Station

UMBS Data Management Policy (Proposed)

The University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS), founded in 1909, is dedicated to education and research in field biology and related environmental sciences. The history and status of the UMBS as a leader in environmental education and research creates an obligation to preserve data that describe the ecosystems of Northern Michigan while fostering the development of knowledge that contributes to an understanding of local and global environmental problems and solutions. The UMBS Information Management System is intended to accommodate these responsibilities by achieving the following:

• Ensure the long-term (>20 years) value and viability of data sets collected with UMBS resources through proper metadata documentation and data archiving.

• Protect the near-term and long-term intellectual property rights of those who originate data at the UMBS.

• Facilitate access to UMBS-related data in order to create opportunities for the development of unique research questions and researcher collaborations that will further advance environmental research and education.

This Data Management Policy supports these goals by outlining the basic principles the that UMBS Information Management System, Data Users, and Data Originators will adhere to. This document 1) defines two categories of data recognized by the UMBS Information Management System, 2) outlines metadata requirements that must accompany contributed data, and 3) dictates a Data Usage Agreement that details the rights of Data Originators and responsibilities of Data Users .

This Data Management Policy applies to all data collected by current and future courses and research projects that use UMBS resources (e.g., facilities, properties, lab equipment) in any way. Submission of data collected without UMBS resources (e.g., collected at off-site study areas) that are pertinent to the goals of the UMBS and its students and researchers is highly encouraged. At the time of submission, the following Data Management Policy will be applied to non-UMBS data sets unless written modifications are approved by the Director and Information Manager.

Data Types

The UMBS acknowledges that a right of “first-use” of a Data Set is accorded to the Data Originator. To balance this right with the need to document and archive data sets as they are developed the UMBS recognizes two types of Data based upon their availability to those not directly involved in the data collection effort.

• Non-Restricted - Data that will be made available publicly following submission to the Information Management System. No usage limitations, aside from those stated in the Data Use Agreement (see below), apply to this type of data. Legacy data sets, data collected by UMBS courses, and some data collected with UMBS funding are examples of Non-Restricted data.

• Restricted - Data to be archived at the UMBS but with public access limited to the metadata because they are part of an ongoing project. Restricted data will automatically convert to Non-Restricted data two (2) years following collection or the publication of major findings, whichever comes first. In order to better protect the right of “first-use” of researchers who collect data at the UMBS, extensions to the Restricted status can be achieved upon approval by the Director and Information Manager. Examples of data that may qualify for a Restricted status-extension include data used by graduate students who are in the process of completing a thesis or dissertation and data that are part of a long-term study. In this case, annual submission of properly documented data for archiving purposes will be required to maintain Restricted status.

In exceptional circumstances, data can receive permanent status as Restricted data. Examples of this include endangered species location information, data protected by licensing or copyright restrictions or data covered by the Human Subjects Act.

UMBS Course Project Data

Data Sets and reports produced by students of UMBS courses present a unique resource and it is the goal of the UMBS Information Management System to archive these resources for future use by students and researchers. As part of a final project, student groups are expected to submit to the UMBS Resident Biologist Bob Vande Kopple 1) a copy of their report as a Portable Document Format (PDF) or Word Document (.doc or .docx), 2) a spreadsheet containing the raw data used to derive the project results (.txt, .csv, .xls or .xlsx format) and 3) an accompanying metadata form, to be supplied by the Information Manager.

It is recognized that the shortened time allotted to students for the development of field research projects introduces a high degree of variability in product quality. To account for this, Faculty Instructors and Teaching Assistants are asked to categorize student products into one of three Tiers (see below). The Information Manager will meet with student groups to oversee metadata creation and data formatting based on this categorization.

All products of UMBS student projects are considered to be Non-restricted Data unless an exception is sought and approved by the Director and Information Manager.

1) Tier 1 Data
• Publication quality data, especially if aggregated among years
• Extensible by future student project groups
• Accompanied by complete metadata
• Well formulated, documented and reproducible methods
• Receives a high priority for archiving

2) Tier 2 Data
• Useful for exploratory analysis by UMBS researchers
• Extensible by future student project groups
• Accompanied by complete metadata
• Some gaps in the documentation of methodology may exist
• Receives a mid-level priority for archiving

3) Tier 3 Data
• Usefulness limited to immediate educational purposes
• No/insufficient accompanying metadata
• Methodology cannot be reproduced
• Product is not extensible among years
• Receives a low priority for archiving Metadata

The proper documentation of the materials and methods used to collect environmental data is absolutely essential to ensuring long-term viability of data. All Data Sets submitted to the UMBS Information Management System must be accompanied with a completed metadata form to be provided by the Information Manager and three (3) hard copies or a Portable Document Format (PDF) version of any reports or manuscripts derived using the data. Metadata will be made freely available to the public regardless of Data Type.

The failure of researchers to provide copies of appropriately documented data within the specified timeframes will result in the denial of future use of UMBS resources at the discretion of the Director and Executive Committee.

Data Use Agreement (DUA)

The use and application of data made available through the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) Information Management System is subject to the following restrictions and qualifications:

1) The Data User will acknowledge the Data Originator (e.g., Principal Investigator) and the UMBS in any publications, reports, or presentations that use data falling under the auspices of the UMBS Information Management System. Where such products result from the use of UMBS Data, the Data User is strongly urged to consider collaboration and/or co-authorship with the Data Originator.

2) The Data User will provide three (3) hard copies or a Portable Document Format (PDF) version of all manuscripts and reports derived from Data Sets obtained through the UMBS Information Management System to the Data Originator and to the UMBS Resident Biologist Bob Vande Kopple (bvk@umich.edu).

3) The Data User agrees not to disseminate or re-distribute data covered under the UMBS Information Management System beyond the immediate collaboration sphere.

4) Products garnered from data covered under the UMBS Information Management System may be used for non-profit purposes only. The Data User agrees to make these products publicly available in a timely manner.

5) The Data User is fully responsible for all errors in analysis and judgment that are derived from UMBS Data.

6) Violation of any of the terms of this Data Use Agreement by the Data User may result in the immediate forfeiture of all UMBS Data and the denial of future use of the UMBS Information Management System.


While the UMBS strives to provide data of the highest quality, all data secured from the UMBS is provided "as is." The UMBS is not responsible for errors in or conclusions drawn from the use of UMBS Data.


“Data Set” – Digital data and its metadata derived from any research activity such as field observations, collections, laboratory analysis, experiments, or the post-processing of existing data and identified by a unique identifier issued by a recognized cataloging authority such as a site, university, agency, or other organization.
“Data User” - individual to whom access has been granted to this Data Set, including his or her immediate collaboration sphere, defined here as the institutions, partners, students and staff with whom the Data User collaborates, and with whom access must be granted, in order to fulfill the Data User's intended use of the Data Set
“Data Originator” - individual or institution that produced the Data Set
“UMBS Data” – Data sets that are archived or otherwise in the care of the UMBS Information Management System. UMBS Data is subject to all restrictions and requirements outlined in the UMBS Data Management Policy

Note: These definitions are adapted from the LTER Network Data Access Policy, Data Access Requirements, and General Data Use Agreement

Posted by kkwaiser at September 9, 2009 12:06 PM


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