Luquillo Experimental Forest LTER Data Management Policy

The purpose of this document is to set guidelines to resolve issues relative to scientists' rights to their data and their responsibility to make the data available to the rest of the scientific community.

General. Pertains to all four types of data mentioned below. Scientists have the obligation both to contribute data collected with LTER funding to the LEF LTER database within one year of collection and to submit the data for publication in the open literature in a timely fashion.

With the exceptions discussed in Data Type II, investigators have first right of publication of the data they collect before their release to the scientific community within the time limits specified.

Data sets will be distributed by the LEF LTER program only under the condition that they are not sold or distributed by the recipient.

Questions of interpretation of these policies will be resolved in writing by the principal investigators of the LEF LTER according to the procedures discussed below.

Data Type I. Published data and its corresponding documentation.

Data and documentation are available upon request.

Data Type II. Collective data of the LEF LTER program (routine measurements generated by technical staff, e.g. meteorological data).

Data are available for specific scientific purposes immediately after data are entered and documented.

Data Type III. Original measurements by individual scientists.

Data sets will be released in response to requests detailing specific scientific purposes two years after generation. Data can be released earlier with the permission of the responsible scientist. In either case, the permission of both principal investigators of the LEF LTER will be required.

The data will continue to be available even though a scientist may leave the project through transfer or death.

Data Type IV. Special long-term data collected by individual scientists.

One of the two principal investigators at the LEF LTER site can designate that such data can be withheld for longer periods. This action should be rare and must be justified in writing.


The scientists, the LEF-LTER Program, and the USDA International Institute of Tropical Forestry (IITF) must receive adequate acknowledgement for the use of data by other scientists, and the LEF LTER program must receive two copies of any publication using that data. One copy will be placed at the IITF library and one copy will stay with the LEF LTER Data Manager. A suggested format for this acknowledgement will be distributed along with the requested data.


It is the responsibility of the scientist to assure that the documentation and transformation of their data will be adequate to permit data to be used by scientists not involved in its original collection. The Data Manager will make sure that the investigator complies with this requirement when filing the data set with Data Management.


The investigators are responsible for certifying the quality of their data. Data Management is responsible for setting the proper standards to assure the quality of data when transferring and disseminating data.


The cost of making data available will be covered directly by the person requesting the data except in those cases of reciprocal sharing or collaborative research. An estimate of the cost will be given to the person requesting the data prior to its delivery in those cases where the manipulation of the data and generation of the report have a high cost. A document explaining our pricing policy is available upon request.


The LEF LTER Data Manager will be responsible for enforcing the above policies. Disputes arising with regard to these policies will be resolved by the Principal Investigators. Requests for resolution of a dispute should be submitted to both Principal Investigators in writing. The Principal Investigators will acknowledge receipt of the request and will reach a determination within 90 days. Such determination will be communicated to the parties involved in writing.