Information Managment at the Arctic LTER

Information management in the Arctic LTER has two principal aims.  The first is to maximize data access both within the project and to other researchers.  We try to maximize data access by rapidly adding new data sets to the data base (usually before publication) and by making all of the data sets available for download from our web site and the LTER Network Data Port; the only requirements are that users: (1) read and accept the LTER Data Policy and (2) cite data sets in their published and unpublished works.  The second aim is to optimize data usability and integration for within-site synthesis and modeling, regional and long-term scaling, and multisite or global comparisons and syntheses.  Careful planning at the research design stage is required to ensure that any single set of measurements is easily linked to other measurements; typically this includes working closely with collaborating projects so that their work on LTER sites and experiments is optimally integrated.

The structure of our information management system parallels the overall structure of the project, i.e. terrestrial, streams, lakes, and landscape interactions research components..  A Senior RA is the overall project information manager with responsibility for overseeing the integrity of the Arctic LTER information system.  However information management is a primary responsibility of all four full-time RAs associated with each of these research components. The four RAs work closely in the field with investigators, technicians, and students to ensure quality control and appropriate documentation.  Overall guidance is provided by the Executive Committee while the senior RA attends the LTER Network Information Manager's meetings and makes sure we are kept up to date and compatible with Network data standards.

Availability of Datasets:  All datasets of the Arctic LTER project are available from both the Arctic LTER web site and the LTER Network Data Portal  We ask only that the LTER project and the principal investigator responsible for the data set be informed and that NSF and the ARC LTER be acknowledged in any papers published in which the data are used.  To facilitate citation, digital object identifiers (DOI) are provided for each data set.

Submitting Data:  Data can be submitted by contacting the individual RAs of each research components or by emailing im_arc@mbl.edu. An Excel form is available for submitting both metadata and data. Comments are used extensively throughout the sheet to aid in filling out the data. Data validation lists are used to created drop down lists for units, sites and data types.  Once a file is submitted a basic check is made to ensure that the metadata and data conform to the LTER standards.   In the near future an online form will be available for submitting metadata and data.