Acquisition policy


We accept data and models from freshwater, terrestrial and near atmosphere science research funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

We may accept data that is not funded by NERC if it is of importance to the research community. However, priority is given to NERC-funded research.

There is usually no charge for our services. However, in some circumstances costs may need to be recovered from the depositor.

1.0 Introduction

The Environmental Information Data Centre (EIDC) is the UK’s national data centre for terrestrial, freshwater and near atmosphere sciences funded through the UK's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The EIDC accepts digital environmental data resources in re-usable formats for curation 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. Details of who can access the digital resources held by the EIDC and how access is enabled are also provided.

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 is also described.

2.1 Scope of digital resources accepted

The EIDC holds digital resources within the terrestrial, freshwater and near atmosphere 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 is one of a network of data centres forming NERC’s Environmental Data Service (EDS). The EIDC works with the other data centres to determine the most appropriate location for curation of data resources. We will work with depositors to find the most appropriate location for data falling outside the domain remit of the EIDC.

The EIDC prioritises ingestion of digital resources generated as a result of NERC funding. 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

Data tables, databases, geospatial data, images, moving images, some software and model outputs are all acceptable for deposit and curation where it is deemed feasible to maintain them and they are re-usable in the long-term. 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 value checklist.

These criteria include:

  • Are related resources already held by the EIDC or another NERC data centre?
  • Was the research funded by NERC?
  • Is the EIDC the most appropriate data centre for the resource?
  • Are data unique, repeatable or does the cost of regeneration exceed the cost of curation?
  • Is the resource likely to be cited in a publication?
  • Is the resource described sufficiently to enable 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 been budgeted for by the project?

2.4 Payment for acquisitions

Charges for acquisition services to NERC-funded researchers 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 excessive volumes of data.

Researchers wishing to deposit data resources that are not funded by NERC should be aware that the EIDC may charge for the services they provide. Deposit of NERC-funded resources is always given priority over non-NERC funded requests.

Charging is based on the time and materials used when ingesting a digital resource.

3.0 Access and use

The EIDC manages a data catalogue, hosted by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH). This is publicly accessible, enables searching of EIDC's data holdings and provides view and download services. Information on citation, licencing, embargo periods and access to supporting documentation for re-use is also provided. 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 and access is, in most cases, free at the point of use. The majority of resources held by the EIDC are 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. Embargoed digital resources are ingested into the EIDC, but public access to those resources is 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 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 resources, facilitating data citation and display these alongside the data
  • encourage the use of digital resources held by the EIDC for a full range of purposes including future scientific projects, within information products or decision support systems.


For further details, please contact us