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What are the benefits of archiving my research data in general and the EDI repository, specifically?

There are many benefits to archiving and publishing research data, such as preserving data, fulfilling publisher’s requirements and supporting sharing and re-use of data. For a more comprehensive overview, along with supporting references, see here.

The EDI repository is a reliable, registered and certified trustworthy data repository for ecological/environmental research data.

Are my data appropriate for the EDI repository?

The EDI repository houses ecological/environmental data. Data types typically found in the repository include: observational data, experimental data, data used in a scientific article, synthesis data, and model outputs. However, storage space is not unlimited and we ask that you contact us to let us know what your specific needs are. Generally we recommend to not archive anything and everything, but consider the current and future value of  your data. This is a challenging mental exercise with no clear right or wrong answer, but we are here to consult if you’d like to discuss.

What services does EDI offer?

  1. A reliable, registered and certified trustworthy data repository for ecological research data.
  2. Online and in-person data management training.
  3. Consultation for setting up data management for large projects or single investigator labs.
  4. In-person dataset curation assistance.

How much do EDI services cost me?

Both, the EDI repository and our data curation services are currently free for ecologists.  We do prioritize environmental data from research funded by the NSF DEB (e.g., LTREB, OBFS, MSB, and LTER), but strongly encourage anyone interested in archiving environmental data to contact us. One caveat to this is that data volumes must be taken into consideration. If you anticipate the need to archive large volumes of data, then we may have to negotiate some cost sharing agreement.

What does EDI need to know about my data prior to archiving?

  1. What format of data would you like publish (e.g. tabular csv, spatial raster or vector, or other formats)?
  2. What is the total volume of data you would like to publish now?
  3. What is the expected volume of data you’d like to publish annually?
  4. Do you currently document your data with a metadata standard? If so, what standard?​

Is there a limit to the amount of data I may archive?

No. However, large data volumes will require planning and may require some cost sharing between your project and EDI.

How do I obtain a user account for the data portal?

Please contact us at info@environmentaldatainitiative.org and we will set up an account for you. We recommend obtaining a user account for the EDI data portal if you will be archiving many datasets for your project or would like to control updates and revisions to your data. Often these are tasks of a data manager of a research site, project, or academic lab. We are happy to train you or your data manager in how to manage your data submissions to the repository, and when you are comfortable we’ll set you up with an account.

If you intend to archive only a few datasets, then it will be most efficient to use EDI’s data curation team. Please contact the data curation team at info@environmentaldatainitiative.org.

What will happen to my data if EDI loses funding?

As long as NSF requires data to be made publicly available we can assume that NSF will fund some sort of ecological data repository. Once your data are cleaned and well documented with standardized, machine readable metadata (EML) those data can be migrated into a different repository system. And then there is the chicken and egg problem, the more data are in the system the more important it will be to preserve access to them.

Creating quality metadata requires a considerable investment of my time. Why should I do this?

A dataset has little value if it cannot be understood. The relatively high metadata standard expected by the EDI repository ensures the data can be utilized by your future self and others for scientific and other forms of inquiry. Furthermore, by creating your metadata in the standardized EML format, you ensure your data is discoverable and can be easily translated to other metadata standards if necessary. We realize that other repositories require less metadata, however, the more metadata the better the data can be reused appropriately. We offer user-friendly tools and one-on-one support to help you create quality metadata.

What metadata standards does the EDI repository accept?

The EDI repository uses the Ecological Metadata Language (EML) standard. If your metadata are in a different standard, and you would like to convert to EML, please contact us. We have methods and tools to translate metadata of other standards to EML.

Is there an API for the EDI Data Repository?

Yes! Anything you can manually do in the repository can also be done via the API. Documentation for the API is here.