Data Policy


1. Rights and responsibilities

Each participant (institution) in the CarboEurope-IP who handles the CarboEurope database, will produce data from measurements and models to be used within the CarboEurope-IP. Rights and responsibilities of participants are defined at the level of principle investigators (PIs). A participant may be represented by several PIs with different rights and responsibilities.

Each PI owns his/her own data and may make these data available at any time to anyone.

Each PI is responsible for making data available through the database, according to the rules in this policy document, to other PIs within the CarboEurope-IP.

Each PI is responsible for making data available directly, according to the rules of the CarboEurope-IP, to authorised participants in the CarboEurope-IP.

The CarboEurope Data Management Committee determines questions related to dataset documentation, dataset format, and quality level. The Data Management Committee also adjudicates possible disputes relating to this data policy. The Data Management Committee is composed of the PI of the central CarboEurope database and the four PIs of the CarboEurope data centres for ecosystem data, atmosphere data, regional experiment data, and auxilliary data. It is chaired by the PI of the central CarboEurope database.

2. Documentation of datasets

All datasets should be documented according to a standard. This standard is an integral part of the database and consists of the following main elements: (i) Title, (ii) Authors/owners, (iii) Introduction (incl. objectives), (iv) Theory of measurements, (v) Equipment (incl. instrument description, calibration, procedures), (vi) Observations, (vii) Parameter/variable description, (viii) Data manipulations, (ix) Errors, (x) Notes, (xi) References, and (xii) Glossary of acronyms.

Documentation of a given measurement site or region is done separately from the database. This documentation should be available on the web site of the CarboEurope-IP.

3. Access to data in the CarboEurope-IP

Access to data from version 1.0 and higher (cf. paragraph 8.d) is granted to each PI.

Data access is initially restricted to participants of the CarboEurope-IP. All data from version 1.0 and higher (cf. paragraph 8.d) are immediately available as soon as they have been inserted into the database.

All datasets delivered to the CarboEurope database may eventually be published on CD (or another suitable medium existing at the time of publication). Such publication will open free access to the published CarboEurope-IP dat a. A possible publication will take place in certain intervals, e.g. at mid-term and after the project is finished, i.e., after 1 st of January, 2009. The publication of data during the running time of the CarboEurope-IP requires the written agreement of the data owner.

The CarboEurope-IP data policy follows the subsidiary principle, i.e., all datasets are organized in databases at the level of the scientific Components, called ”CarboEurope data centres”, with a reference to and access from the central CarboEurope-IP database, which includes the common meta-database. Participants requesting data from Components in which they are not involved will be served by the central database.

The manager of the central database will be responsible for the collection of metadata from each data centre. MPI-BGC is responsible for the management of this central CarboEurope-IP database.

The Data Management Committee, in agreement with the Executive Board and the IP Co-ordinator, is responsible for publishing, and making available on the Internet, a list of PI names in the CarboEurope-IP who are authorised to request data from the CarboEurope database.

The Data Management Committee shall facilitate the publication of data from FP5 projects of the CarboEurope cluster and provide access to these data via the CarboEurope database.

4. Internal use of data from CarboEurope-IP

Data which have been accessed by a PI must only be used for purposes necessary to carry out his/her own work in the CarboEurope-IP.

Data which have been accessed must only be used for scientific purposes, i.e., commercial use of data is not allowed.

Use of data, to any significant degree, belonging to another PI for the purpose of scientific publication must always be based on an agreement between the PI and the data requester. The CarboEurope database shall offer the possibility to trace all downloads of a given dataset.

It is prohibited to distribute other PI's data to a third party without the written consent of the PI.

The termination of the participation of a participant shall in no way affects its obligation to grant access rights to the other participants pursuant to paragraph 4.a until the end of the CarboEurope-IP.

5. External use of data from CarboEurope-IP

A meta-database located at the central database will contain information about all datasets in the CarboEurope database and about the PIs responsible for them. The meta-database will be accessible via the internet for external users.

Access to data for external users is restricted to published data from version 2.0 or 3.0 (paragraph 8.d) and higher.

Access to unpublished data for external users can be granted if there is a written consent of the data owner (PI). Access to data in the CarboEurope database requires a written request to the Data Management Committee, which explains the purpose of using the data.

Special case: Joint EU/US assessments ¼

External use of data is subject to the rules set in paragraphs 4.b, 4.c, and 4.d.

6. Delivery of data to CarboEurope-IP

Data delivery implies delivery of (i) a documentation of a given dataset according to the prescribed format, and (ii) a dataset according to the documentation. Data will be inserted into the database when both parts are available.

Datasets must be specified in advance such that the database managers at the data centres, the Data Management Committee, and the External Advisory Board can determine whether a delivery is fulfilled or not. This information is also necessary for the time schedule of the database managers and for identification of hardware requirements. The Data Management Committee is responsible for collection of information about data intended for submission to the database. Even if the PI does not know exactly what the dataset will look like, she/he should submit tentative information about (i) type and number of variables, (ii) frequency of collection, (iii) time period covered, and (iv) approximate size of the dataset file. This information will be relatively straightforward to assemble for continuous time-series data but must be subject to scientific discussions within the review panel when it comes to model output and airborne measurements. This information should be gathered as early as possible. Datasets will be registred by the database manager when there are tentative descriptions of them, accepted by the Data Management Committee. Registration dates for data deliveries from the respective PIs, together with acceptance dates by the Data Managemen t Committee, will be documented and available as part of the database.

Data from continuous and regular measurements such as fluxes shall be delivered to the database every half year with a month delay after the start of the project, i.e., on 1 August 2004, 1 February 2005, 1 August 2005, 1 February 2006, 1 August 2006, 1 February 2007, 1 August 2007, 1 February 2008, 1 August 2008. The datasets shall cover the time period up to one month before data delivery.

Data from time-limited field campaigns, irregular measurements, and model results shall be delivered to the database within one month after the end of the campaign, or finalization of the measurements or modelling.

7. Composite and external datasets

8. Quality assurance


Quality requirements

Documentation requirements


Raw data (it is up to each PI to define the meaning of "raw") which have no physical meaning to an end user (e.g., mV values)

A short, simple text file is sufficient


Raw data expressed in physically meaningful units (e.g., W  m -2)

A documentation according to the standard format where only information about PI, equipment, and variable/parameter description need to be complete


Removal of erroneous data caused by obvious measurement problems (electronic spikes, etc.), and physically impossible or extremely rare values. Correction of data by standard procedures.

A complete documentation according to the standard format. The quality control measures must be documented.


Removal of erroneous data after comparison with other, independently measured variables (e.g., clear-sky radiation is not accepted during heavy rain), or model-derived variables. Correction of data by novel procedures.

High-level documentation of calibration and quality-control procedures


Closure of gaps in the dataset with scientifically well-defined interpolation methods.

High-level documentation of gap-filling procedures. Documentation of the quality level as a function of time.

It is the goal of the CarboEurope-IP to publish datasets after peer review in an integral and referable form together with traditional scolarly papers. Datasets will only be accepted for such a publication when they have reached version 2.x or higher.


updated by Yvonne Hofmann,