Data Sharing and Usage Policy

FAQs- About Data Policy

iDiv represents a large scale collaborative biodiversity science research effort whose central mission is to promote theory-driven synthesis and data-driven theory. It is widely agreed upon that data preservation and sharing is essential to further biodiversity research in general and to reach these aims in particular. To support this, many funding agencies – including DFG – have strong expectations with respect to data management and reuse.

Within iDiv, the Biodiversity Informatics Unit provides the iDiv Biodiversity Data Portal (iBDP), an infrastructure for data management including data storage, data preservation, data sharing and data reuse.

you create some data, you should keep the following questions in mind:

Is the activity that produces the data paid for by iDiv?

In this case, the data should be managed and shared via the iBDP. This is particularly important, if repeating the measurements would be impossible or very costly, e.g., if you have measured biomass on a certain plot on a certain date in June 2014, this might be valuable information for a PhD student in 2024 working on the same plot. Obviously, he can't just repeat your measurement to reproduce your data. If, for some reason, you prefer to store your data elsewhere (e.g., because there is a well-established archive in your field or the data is being produced in a collaborative project with its own data management), then the iBDP should contain at least sufficient information to discover and access this data. All this is true whether you create "classical" biodiversity data or other types of data – we assume that as long as you do it in the iDiv context, it will be relevant for biodiversity research.

Is the activity that produces the data not paid for by iDiv?

In this case, we still would like to see your data managed and shared via the iBDP, albeit this is not mandatory. Also, we will need to negotiate the conditions of iBDP usage (in particular associated cost) on a case to case basis.

Is the data the result of an sDiv workshop?

Again, we would be happy to see the data managed and shared via the iBDP. It might be a bit more difficult to figure out which access rights and licenses to use in this case to ensure that intellectual property rights of data owners are not violated. The BDU will be helping you with that.

Who will be able to access the metadata?

There are very good reasons to make metadata (= information describing the data) publicly available as soon as it is known (i.e., typically before data creation). This prevents duplicated effort and may result in additional collaboration opportunities. If this is not possible for some reason, at least access within iDiv should be provided. In exceptional cases, this access can be restricted.

Who will be able to access the data?

Ideally: Everyone. By default, in iBDP this will happen after a 2 year embargo period under a CC-BY-NC 2.0 license. The license means that the data can be used for non-commercial purposes but proper acknowledgments (to you) need to be provided. It is possible to extend the embargo period for additional 2 year increments. It is possible to select a different license or embargo period, if you have good reasons for doing so. The BDU will provide advice on these issues.

What if someone wants to access embargoed data?

Even if you don't want to share your data with just anyone from the start, it would be good to make it available within iDiv and maybe also to other people asking for it prior to the end of the embargo period. The iBDP will help you do that by providing means to ask for and grant data access and to negotiate the conditions under which data is released. The iBDP will give suggestions on such conditions. As a rule, data owners and other people involved in obtaining the data should be offered to collaborate on papers produced, if the data contributes significantly to the message of the paper and be cited and mentioned in the acknowledgements in all other cases.

Are there specific rules for collaborative efforts?

If you are taking part in a collaborative effort within iDiv or involving iDiv (like a new CRC or Research Group or just an informal agreement to collaborate on a certain topic), your group should prepare a data management plan prior to beginning your work. The BDU can provide guidance in setting up such plans.

Why should I follow these policies?

For iDiv's overall success, a culture of data sharing is essential. Thus, the directorate will enforce adherence to these policies. If you don't follow them, you may lose access rights to the iBDP, funds may be withheld or you may not be able to apply for resources from the flexible pool or sDiv.

If, on the other hand, you follow the policies, your data and metadata will be widely visible to the scientific community via the iBDP, you will get support from the BDU in all questions related to data management and you will meet the expectations with respect to data management of your funding agencies.

And now the more formal part: As an iDiv member or scientist, you need to agree to the rules outlined here.