Data policy

JaLTER Network Data Policy

1. Introduction

1) Policy related to the release of data products derived from JaLTER Projects

2) User registration for accessing data

3) Conditions and agreements for data use

2. JaLTER Network Dataset Release Policy

Data and information from publicly funded research in the JaLTER Network are made available online with as few restrictions as possible. JaLTER Network scientists should make every effort to release the collected data in timely fashion and with attention to accurate metadata.

2.1 Criteria for Dataset Release priority

The priorities for dataset release are defined for the following three types of projects.

1) JaLTER Approved projects

For Data Sets collected with the financial support from JaLTER-approved projects, metadata are to be released to the public at the end of the project term, and data within 1 year from the end of the project term.

(The definition of a JaLTER-approved project’ is found elsewhere in this document)

2) JaLTER Project

For Data Sets collected in projects, for which, its association with JaLTER is stated in the grant application document, metadata are to be released to the general public no later than the end of the project term. The release of Data Sets is also recommended.

3) Other projects that are conducted in JaLTER sites

Release of metadata and data are recommended for other projects that conducted at JaLTER sites.

2.2 Exceptions from dataset release obligation

1) If the Data Sets under obligations for release is bound by a data policy set by the funding source, then the latter policy is given the priority.

2) For the release of Data Sets that are designated as information to be protected by public organizations, such as locations of rare species, the discretion of the data owner is given the priority.

2.3 Metadata

1) Metadata will be made available when, or before, the dataset itself is released.

2) All metadata for Data Sets under the release obligation must be publicly available regardless of any restrictions on access to the data.

3) All metadata will follow JaLTER recommended standards. They must minimally contain adequate information on proper citation (title, publication year, and owner’s name), access, contact information, and condition for Data Set release. Complete information including methods, structure, semantics, and quality control/assurance is expected for most Data Sets and is strongly encouraged.

2.4. Method of data release

In principle, Data Sets will be released on JaLTER database server that is recommended by JaLTER Management Committee.

3. Registration for data access

For a user to access to JaLTER Data Sets, a user registration is required. This is to enable data providers to track usage, or evaluate its impact in the community.

The information required for registration include but not limited to name, affiliation, conftact information (telephone number, address, e-mail address).

The user is also required to express the acceptance of the data use agreement terms set for each dataset, as well as to give a statement of intended uses that is compliant with the above agreements.

These information are appropriately managed within JaLTER Network and shared among sites. This means that one-time registration will enable the access to other JaLTER databases.

The Data Users must fully understand and accept the Data Use Agreement on the use of the Data Sets. Data providers wishing to impose further requirements beyond these are encouraged to include them in their Restricted Data Use Agreements accompanying the datasets.

4. Data Use Agreements

Datasets released by JaLTER will be accompanied with a use agreement that specifies the conditions for data use. This Data Use Agreement is stated below. However, for the exceptional datasets as the ones illustrated in 2.2., where the dataset that are given specific restrictions on the use by other data providers, such restrictions will be given the priority, and individual data use agreement will be made. Even in these situations, in most cases the General Data Use Agreement below can be modified to serve.

Grounds for restricting data may include the need to restrict access to species, habitats or cultural resources protected by legislation; rights of privacy granted by human subjects legislation; or protection of intellectual, financial or legal rights over the data held by a third party.

This policy becomes effective when approved by the JaLTER Coordinating Committee.

4.1. General Data Use Agreement


“Data Set” Digital data and its metadata derived from any research activity such as field observations, collections, laboratory analysis, or the post-processing of existing data. Data Sets are identified by a unique identifier issued by a recognized cataloging authority such as a site, university, agency, or other organization.

“Metadata” Property information for digital data derived from any research activity such as field observations, collections, laboratory analysis, or the post-processing of existing data. Metadata include, but not limited to, information about data creator, data owner, data distributor, contact information, site location, data collection period, and data collection methods.

“Data User” Individual to whom access has been granted to this Data Set, including his or her immediate collaboration group, and the institutions, partners, students and staff with whom the Data User collaborates, and with whom access is granted, in order to fulfill the Data User’s intended use of the Data Set.

“Data Set Creator” Individual or institution that produced the Data Set.

“Data Set Owner” Individual or institution that holds intellectual property rights to the dataset. Note that this may or may not be defined as a legal copyright. If no other party is designated in the metadata as Data Set Owner, it may be presumed that these rights are held by the Data Set Creator.

“Data Set Distributor” Individual or institution providing access to the Data Sets.

“Data Set Contact” Party designated in the accompanying metadata of the Data Set as the primary contact for the Data Set.

Conditions of Use

The re-use of scientific data has the potential to greatly increase communication, collaboration and cooperation within and among disciplines, and thus must be fully supported. Permission to use this dataset is granted to the Data User free of charge subject to the following terms:

1) Acceptable use. Use of the dataset will be restricted to academic, research, educational, government, recreational, or other not-for-profit professional purposes. The Data User is permitted to produce and distribute derived works from this dataset provided that they are released under the same license terms as those accompanying this Data Set. Any other uses for the Data Set or its derived products will require explicit permission from the original dataset owner.

2) Redistribution. Data Users can redistribute to collaborators. In this case, the metadata and this license must accompany all copies made and be available to all users of this Data Set. The Data User will not redistribute the original Data Set beyond this collaboration sphere.

3) Citation. It is considered a matter of professional ethics to acknowledge the work of other scientists. Thus, the Data User will properly cite the Data Set in any publications or in the metadata of any derived data products that were produced using the Data Set. Citation should take the following general form:

Creator, Year of Data Publication, Title of Dataset, Publisher, Dataset identifier. For example:

Ohte, N. 2008. Hydrochemical data in Kiryu Experimental watershed: Japan
Long-Term Ecological Research Network: JaLTER Database:
(10 July 2008)


4) Acknowledgement. The Data User should acknowledge any institutional support or specific funding awards referenced in the metadata accompanying this dataset in any publications where the Data Set contributed significantly to its content. Acknowledgements should identify the supporting party, the party that received the support, and any identifying information such as grant numbers. For example:

Data sets were provided by the JaLTER Database, Japan
Long-Term Ecological Research Network. Significant funding
for collection of these data was provided by the JSPS (Grant
numbers ########).


5) Notification. The Data User will notify the Data Set Owner (Contact) when any publication or derivative work based on or derived from the Data Set is distributed. The Data User will provide the data contact with two reprints of any publications resulting from use of the Data Set and will provide copies, or on-line access to, any derived digital products. Notification will include an explanation of how the Data Set was used to produce the derived work.

6) Collaboration. The Data Set has been released in the spirit of open scientific collaboration. Data Users are thus strongly encouraged to consider consultation, collaboration and/or co-authorship with the Data Set Creator.

By accepting this Data Set, the Data User agrees to abide by the terms of this agreement. The Data Owner shall have the right to terminate this agreement immediately upon the Data User’s breach of, or non-compliance with, any of its terms. The Data User may be held responsible for any misuse that is caused or encouraged by the Data User’s failure to abide by the terms of this agreement.

4.2. Disclaimer

While substantial efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of data and documentation contained in the data set, complete accuracy of data and metadata cannot be guaranteed. All data and metadata are made available “as is”. The data user holds all parties involved in the production or distribution of the Data Set harmless for damages resulting from its use.