The Arctic Data Center is the primary data and software repository for the Arctic section of National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs (NSF OPP).
CoreTrustSeal certified as a trusted repository
CoreTrustSeal certification involves meeting 16 different requirements, which are intended to ensure the reliability and durability of the repository itself so that the data can be used, shared, and preserved over a long timespan. The Arctic Data Center achieved this independent certification in April 2020.
Strong partnerships for preservation
The NSF Arctic Data Center helps the research community reproducibly preserve and discover all products of NSF-funded science in the Arctic, including data, metadata, software, documents, and provenance that link these in a coherent knowledge model. Key to the initiative is the partnership between the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at UC Santa Barbara, DataONE, and NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), each of which bring critical capabilities to the Center. Infrastructure from the successful NSF-sponsored DataONE federation of data repositories enables data replication to NCEI, providing both offsite and institutional diversity that is critical to long term preservation.
Data management tools
Researcher-facing submission tools provide convenient pathways to document and archive diverse data formats as part of scientists’ normal workflows (e.g., both through the web and via analytical tools such as Matlab, R, and IDL). This infrastructure is supported by an outstanding set of community services, including data discovery tools, metadata assessment and editing, data cleansing and integration, data management consulting, and user help-desk services.
Training and OutreachEach year, our training and outreach staff helps to provide hands on training at Arctic research conferences and in dedicated training sessions targeting Arctic researchers, especially early-career and under-represented populations. Training and outreach focuses on effective means for long-term data management, following a curriculum developed and refined by the open science community.
Powered by rich, detailed metadata
For scientists, the Arctic Data Center is an efficient way to share, discover, access, and interpret complex data about the Arctic. Due to rich contextual information provided with data, scientists are able to integrate and analyze data with less effort. The data originate from a highly-distributed set of field stations, laboratories, research sites, and individual researchers. The foundation of the Arctic Data Center is the rich, detailed metadata provided by researchers that collect data, which promotes both automated and manual integration of data into new projects.
Rich community supportUsers frequently need help with repository services, with questions ranging from the mundane, to the highly technical, to the profound. The Center staff provides multiple support services, including online support via email and live chat. The staff enhances, maintains, and distributes instructional materials, system documentation, and Frequently Asked Questions, as well as answers direct questions from repository researchers as they arise. We help with everything from data submission to developing data management plans for proposals. Our data support team also engages the community to prioritize and preserve critical Arctic data from past NSF research that is currently inaccessible.
As part of the Arctic Data Center effort, data management software is developed in a free and open source manner, so other groups can build upon the tools. The Arctic Data Center is powered by the Metacat data management system, and is optimized for handling data sets described using the Ecological Metadata Language (EML), but can store any XML-based metadata document. Metacat and EML are also used by many repositories, including the KNB Data Repository and the DataONE search system.