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  • Frequently asked questions

    Why should I deposit data?

    By depositing your data into the EIDC:

    • You ensure the data is secure and available long-term
    • The data is well described to enable future re-usability
    • Researchers will be able to find and access the data not only from EIDC directly but from other sources such as data.gov.uk, the NERC data portal, DataCite and Jisc's Research Discovery Service
    • We promote data citation, ensuring you get credit for reuse of the data.
    • You receive persistent identifiers (DOIs) that can be used to cite the data and can also be listed in your outputs
    • We help meet your legal and funder requirements
    • Embargo periods and licensing of data are managed

    Who can deposit data?

    Researchers whose work is funded by NERC, or those whose research falls under the area of the terrestrial or freshwater sciences can deposit data to the EIDC.

    Is the EIDC the right data centre in which to deposit my data?

    The EIDC is NERC's data centre for the terrestrial and freshwater sciences funded through the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).  We also accept data concerned with other areas of the environmental sciences and work with other NERC data centres to find the most suitable place for your data. We prioritise ingestion of data generated as a result of NERC funding but data generated by alternative funding avenues is also accepted if it is of importance to the environmental research community.

    If in doubt, we are happy to advise you and help you find the best place to deposit your data. Please contact us and we'll talk you through the options.

    When should I deposit my data?

    Data are best deposited to EIDC as soon as they are complete, validated and stable.  The advantages of this are:

    • a DOI can be obtained for the dataset to use as a reference when citing the resource. (Many journals now require a data DOI as part of the publication process)
    • documentation describing the dataset can be generated by researchers working closely with the data
    • data are held securely in a national repository
    • an embargo on data access can be applied 

    Planning for depositing data to EIDC should ideally start well before the intended publication date.

    All the specific details for what data will be deposited and how it will be curated are agreed in advance and documented. A date for handover is also agreed.

    This will give you plenty of time for any outstanding data management tasks to be completed (for example, reformatting data, clarification of licence terms & conditions and gathering  supporting documentation).

    Contact EIDC as soon as you have identified that you have a dataset that will be deposited to EIDC and we will advise when best to start the planning process.

    What types of data can I deposit?

    Tables (e.g. data tables, spreadsheets, CSVs), images, moving images, databases, software, models and model outputs are all acceptable types of data for deposit.

    We will only accept data where we believe it is feasible to maintain them and they are considered capable of re-use. In all cases, digital resources must be supplemented with sufficient supporting documentation to enable understanding of the resource without the need to contact the depositor directly.

    We prefer to accept data in non-proprietary formats (for example, CSVs rather than Microsoft Excel spreadsheets).  This ensures that the data has the maximum possible accessibility and longevity.

    See our acquisition policy for more information.

    How much will it cost to deposit my data?

    Charges for depositing data created by NERC-funded researchers or researchers wishing to deposit nationally important datasets will usually be waived. However, in some circumstances, where data resources are of an exceptional size, charging may be necessary. Charges will be based on the time and material used when ingesting a dataset and will be agreed with the depositor prior to deposit.

    Can my data be embargoed?

    Yes we allow data to be embargoed.

    We recognise that some researchers require restricted access to data in order to protect the research process by allowing a reasonable amount of time to publish their findings.

    When you deposit data, you can request that we embargo its release until a certain date. We will safely store/archive the data and publish the metadata information but will not provide access to the actual data until the date we have agreed with you. On that date, we will lift the embargo and the data will be released to the public. We can also lift embargoes early if requested to do so by the depositor.

    As a NERC Environmental Data Centre we are guided by the NERC Data Policy in which a reasonable embargo period is considered to be up to two years from the end of data collection.

    What happens to my data after I've submitted it?

    When we receive the data, we perform basic checks such as

    • can the files be opened?
    • are the data in the expected format?
    • are they free of copyright restrictions?
    • is the metadata complete and is it appropriate to help with understanding of the data

    When we are satisfied that everything is in order, we securely store the data, publish the metadata and make them available publicly (subject to any agreed embargoes).  We then assign a DOI.

    We keep you informed at every step of the process and a member of staff is always available to guide you and answer any questions you may have.

    How do I cite my data?

    Once a dataset has been formally deposited into the EIDC, a DOI can be assigned. The DOI can then be included in a citation used to refer to that particular dataset, for example in a research article or data paper.

    The DOI and citation appear on the metadata page for the dataset.  For example 

    Tanguy, M.; Bachmair, S.; Stahl, K.; Hannaford, J. (2016). Gridded drought indices based on remote sensing data for Europe (2000-2015). NERC Environmental Information Data Centre. http://doi.org/10.5285/4e0d0e50-2f9c-4647-864d-5c3b30bb5f4b

    Which licence should I choose?

    It is the responsibility of the depositor to make sure that the licence identified is appropriate for the dataset, however, data centre staff are available to provide guidance if required.

    By default, data ingested into the EIDC will go out under the Open Government Licence(OGL) unless:

    • It is an information product rather than environmental data (as defined in NERC data policy), or
    • The creation of the data was not government funded (in which case, depositors are required to suggest a suitable alternative open licence)

    Some depositors are finding that journal publishers require the licence on the data referred to in a paper be 'no stricter than CC-BY 4.0' (Creative Common Attribution 4.0 International) and reject the use of OGL, however, we believe that both CC-BY 4.0 and OGL are equally free and open. The only significant restriction in either OGL or CC-BY 4.0 is the requirement for source acknowledgment. If you are having difficulty with a journal publisher in this regard, please Contact Us for assistance

    Is there a charge for data?

    The vast majority of our data is available free of charge.  In some rare instances we may have to make a small charge to cover our own data licensing costs.  For example, in some cases our data products have been derived from third-party data (such as Ordnance Survey data) which costs us to use.

    We will always make you aware if there is likely to be a charge.

    If you download a 'free' dataset you will be able to access it almost instantly (depending on the size of the data). If there is a potential cost, you will be contacted by CEH's licensing team to let you know exactly how much it will cost and what licence you need to agree. At this stage you can choose to pay for the data or decline.

    What is metadata?

    Metadata is documentation about data. It provides information about the content, condition and characteristics of a dataset which helps with:

    • Data discovery
      Informs potential users what data resources are available.  Our catalogue has search tools for this purpose.
    • Evaluation
      Informs potential users of the data whether the selected resource meets their requirements by, for example, describing where and when and how data where collected.
    • Use
      Provides information to assist users to understand, interpret and re-use data.

    The EIDC uses metadata standards (GEMINI) to provide common terms, definitions, and structure to and ensure consistency in our dataset documentation.

    How do I cite EIDC data?

    Details of the citation and acknowledgement that should be used for EIDC data are set out on the metadata page of each dataset.

    screenshot of metadata page

    What is a DOI?

    A digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique string which permanently and unambiguously identifies the data resource and so assists with citation.

    A DOI consists of a string of characters divided into two parts, a prefix and a suffix, separated by a slash. For example:

    Doi structure

    The prefix identifies the registrant (10.5285 is the prefix for NERC) and the suffix is a unique string identifying a specific dataset.

    More about DOIs and citing data »

    Why do I need to register?

    When you order data or services from EIDC, we will usually send the data to you via email. Therefore we need to keep a record of your name and email address.

    You also enter into an agreement to use any data you access legally and responsibly (licence terms and conditions). Your details are therefore recorded with copies of any of the licences you agree.

    Any personal information you provide will be used only for the purposes of providing data, for keeping you informed of changes/issues relating to the data or associated services and for administration of the web server.

    See our Privacy Policy for more information

    What will you do with my personal information?

    We ask only for your name and email address when you register an account. This is so we can send you any data you order and keep you informed of any subsequent changes (for example if a dataset you've ordered has been replaced by a newer version or errata/addenda are published).

    We may also use your information to contact you with announcements about CEH services - for example, if the data catalogue is undergoing maintenance which means it will be unavailable for a while.

    We never supply your details to any third party.

    What is GEMINI?

    GEMINI (GEospatial information Metadata INteroperability Initiative) is a UK metadata specification for describing data resources. It is maintained an published by the Association for Geographic Information (AGI)

    The UK Government has adopted GEMINI as its discovery metadata standard and requires organisations to provide metadata that conforms to the GEMINI Standard

    For more information see the GEMINI pages on the AGI website

    What is INSPIRE?

    INSPIRE is an acronym for INfrastructure for SPatial InfoRmation in Europe

    It is the name given to European Directive 2007/2/EC which aims to establish an infrastructure for spatial information in the European Union.  Its effect will be to make spatial or geographical information more accessible and interoperable for a wide range of purposes and to facilitate better environmental policy across the EU.

    The European directive was transposed into UK law in 2009.

    The law means that UK public bodies (government departments and the bodies funded by them) must make data they collect publicly accessible and reusable.

    For more information see data.gov.uk

    What is my username and password?

    Your username is the email address you used when you registered an account. When you registered, you will also have chosen a password. If you are unable to remember your password, please use the 'forgot password' link on the login page to reset it. If you cannot remember your username, please email us at eidc@ceh.ac.uk

    CEH Staff: use your network username and password to login. You will not be able to use the 'forgot password' or 'change password' functions.

    Why doesn't automatic login work (CEH staff only)?

    If you are a member of CEH staff and you are working in a CEH office, there is no need to enter your username and password  - it will happen automatically.  However, currently automatic login doesn't work if you're using a Firefox web browser.

    If you are using Firefox you can still log in but you'll have to manually add your username and password.