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Publishing Data

How to Publish Your Data

At the conclusion of a research study, researchers should prepare the research data products for publication. Examples of research products include:

  • Raw data collected during field work (pre-processing)
  • The models (code, batch files, etc.) used to process these data
  • Spatial data files
  • Classified or processed remotely sensed images
  • Supporting documentation (additional notes, photos, etc.)
  • Interviews and codebooks
  • Laboratory analysis outputs (text files, .csv)

Each product submitted, whether it be tabular data or one of these other products, should be supplied with metadata. Most of this valuable information (data about your data) will have been collected during the course of your study and it will need to be part of the published data package to enable a third party to understand your data.

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Preparing Data

Tabular Data:

By default, CAP LTER tabular data are published in .csv format. These type of data products include spreadsheets, databases, and machine outputs such a sensor data.

Spatial Data and Imagery:

Vector data are typically published in kml format. Raster and imagery data (e.g., TIFF, IMG) are typically published in the format in which they are provided.

Preparing Metadata

CAP LTER prepares metadata in XML format according to the Ecological Metadata Language (EML) specification. Metadata files are stored with the data and each metadata entry is accessible via the CAP LTER data portal.

For each discreet piece of research:
Complete the following form, which contains information about the project, study subject, and period. This is the type of information that might be common to your overall research study. This information potentially describes the dataset we will produce even though it may consist of multiple items.
Download dataset metadata form

For each data table, spreadsheet worksheet, or machine output (tabular data):
Please complete an attribute metadata table in this form, which details the characteristics of the data (e.g., format, units, etc).
Download data entity metadata form

For each spatial file (GIS data: vector, raster):
Please complete an attribute metadata table in this form, which details the characteristics of the data (e.g., format, units, etc). Researchers may also provide metadata generated with their GIS tools (e.g., ArgGIS, QGIS), if it exists, to aid documentation.
Download data entity metadata form

For each image file (satellite data, aerial imagery, LIDAR, etc.):
Each image file essentially contains tabular data with discreet values. The data table form can be used to describe this type of file.
Download data entity metadata form


Final submission

The completed form(s) should be submitted along with the data to for processing and publication.

Please contact the CAP LTER Information Manager for assistance.