The Environmental Information Data Centre (EIDC) is the UK’s national data centre for terrestrial and freshwater sciences funded through the UK Natural Environment Research Council. The EIDC accepts digital environmental data in re-usable formats for curation, including long-term storage and public dissemination. This policy document covers the nature and scope of the EIDC’s acquisition of digital resources for long-term curation and dissemination and the decision-making process for acceptance. Access and use specifies who can access digital resources held by the EIDC and how access is enabled. This acquisition policy is under periodic review and will develop throughout the lifetime of the data centre.
2.0 Nature and scope of digital resources
This section outlines the range of digital resources accepted for deposit and curation at the EIDC. The evaluation of resources offered for deposit at the EIDC is also described.
2.1 Scope of digital resources accepted
The EIDC holds digital resources within the terrestrial and freshwater science domains. However, digital resources concerned with other areas of the environmental sciences will also be considered for curation on a case-by-case basis. The EIDC prioritises ingestion of digital resources generated as a result of NERC funding. Digital resources generated via alternative funding avenues may also be considered if the deposit in question is perceived to be of importance to the environmental research community. There is no limit on the geographical or temporal range of digital resources the EIDC accepts.
2.2 Type of digital resources accepted
The EIDC holds nationally important digital resources concerned with the terrestrial and freshwater communities. Tables, images, moving images, databases, software (including models) and model outputs are all acceptable for deposit and curation where it is deemed feasible to maintain them and they are considered to be capable of re-use. In all cases, digital resources must be provided with sufficient supporting documentation to enable understanding of the resource without the need to contact the depositor directly.
2.3 Criteria for evaluating digital resources
The EIDC will identify those types of resource that have potential re-use value as part of its ingestion process. Each deposit request will be checked against a number of criteria based on the NERC data identification checklist.
These criteria include:
- Are related resources already held by the EIDC or other data centre?
- Was the research funded by NERC?
- Is the EIDC the most appropriate data centre for that resource?
- Are data unique, repeatable or does the cost of regeneration exceeds the cost of curation?
- Have the resources been used in a peer-reviewed publication?
- Can the resource be described sufficiently to support re-use
- Can the resource be stored in a re-usable (and preferably non-proprietary format)?
- Will ingestion incur excessive cost due to the size of the resource and has this has been budgeted for by the project?
2.4 Payment for acquisitions
Charges for acquisition services to NERC-funded researchers or researchers wishing to deposit nationally important digital resources will usually be waived. However, the EIDC recognises that in extraordinary circumstances, where digital archiving entails significant expenditure, costs may need to be recovered from the depositor. Charging may therefore be necessary for certain classes of depositor or for excessive volumes of data. The charging policy states that charging will be based on the time and materials used when ingesting a digital resource.
3.0 Access and use
The EIDC manages a catalogue, hosted by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH). This publicly accessible catalogue enables searching of the entire EIDC holdings and provides view and download services. Information on citation, licencing, embargo periods and access to supporting documentation for re-use is also provided via the catalogue which holds discovery level standards compliant metadata for each digital resource. Public access to the digital resources held by the EIDC is conditional on acceptance of any terms and conditions under which the resources are made available. Access to the holdings is in most cases free at the point of use. The majority of data held by the EIDC is available under the UK’s Open Government Licence (OGL). The EIDC supports the depositor’s right of first publication and in line with the NERC data policy permits an agreed embargo period of up to two years from the point of data collection or generation. Digital resources may be ingested into the EIDC, however public access to those data would be restricted until such time as the embargo period expires.
It is the policy of the EIDC to:
- provide data management advice and guidance to researchers working on NERC-funded terrestrial and freshwater projects
- store a copy of the data 'as supplied' in a secure Data Holding Store in an agreed format
- ensure the data is discoverable and provide open access to any unrestricted data held in the Data Store
- create Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) for digital datasets, facilitating data citation and display these alongside the data
- encourage the use of the datasets held by the EIDC for a full range of purposes including future scientific projects and within information products or decision support systems
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