Data Policies - LTER

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The Jornada Basin LTER Information Management System (JIMS) provides protocol and services for data collection, verification, organization, archives, and distribution in accordance with recommendations and guidelines developed by the LTER Information Managers Committee (



While substantial efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of data and documentation, complete accuracy of data sets cannot be guaranteed. All data are made available "as is". The Jornada Basin LTER shall not be liable for damages resulting from any use or misinterpretation of data sets.


Quality Assurance Policy:

Data managers interact with researchers during the entire scientific process--from the initial planning of sampling designs and field data collection to archiving and distribution of data. The goal of data management is to build and maintain an archive of Jornada Basin LTER data files that are fully documented, error free, and organized in useful ways. Our protocol for data collection and processing seeks maximum interaction between researchers and data management personnel to avoid confusion and potential loss of data or problems with integrity of data; e.g., identification of historical site treatments that may impact a proposed study or incomplete data set variable descriptions. Site and Data Manager involvement begins during the Project Design phase with the completion of the Jornada Notification of Research form by the researcher prior to the start of work; this alerts both Site and Data Manager to the new study and potential LTER data sets. Upon initiation of a new study, the researcher completes Project Documentation that provides the second level of "metadata" documentation.

In the Data Collection phase, the data manager helps researchers design field and laboratory data sheets that facilitate data entry and analysis. Prior to JIMS data entry the investigator completes Data Set Documentation to provide the metadata that fully describe the data set. Both Project and Data set documentation are provided with the data set when it is requested or obtained from our Web site. JIMS data entry programs error-check and verify data as they are entered. Computer files are subjected to further verification by graphing and/or error-checking programs, and/or examination by field investigators. Final quality assurance of the data rests with the investigator who submits data for inclusion in the Data Management System. Direct communication with the Site Manager, or through a collaborating JRN P.I., is used to encourage the timely submission of documentation and of data by researchers.

Error-checked data files are stored with associated documentation files on the file server. Archived data files are maintained in ASCII format on 30-yr magneto-optical (MO) disks, portable hard drives, CD-R media, and DVD media to guard against loss of data access that can result from changing technology. This may also include proprietary binary format files to facilitate recovery of working versions. Image data are archived on 8mm tape. Routine tape data backups of the file server are done daily, weekly, and monthly. One set of off-site copies are maintained elsewhere on the NMSU campus of routine backup tapes, MO disks, CD disks, and DVD disks with a second set of MO, CD and DVD disks maintained off-campus in case of a catastrophe on campus. 

The final responsibility for quality assurance (both in data and documentation content) rests with the principal investigator who submits the data for inclusion in the Jornada Basin LTER Information Management System. To facilitate quality assurance, the data management staff will provide copies of data and documentation submitted by a principal investigator to that investigator upon request.

Policy on Submission of data:

Data submission into JIMS is expected from LTER researchers, LTER collaborators, and their graduate students where data and information is derived from publicly funded research in the U.S. LTER Network, totally or partially from LTER funds from NSF, Institutional Cost-Share, or Partner Agency or Institution where a formal memorandum of understanding with LTER has been established. Other Jornada Basin researchers are encouraged to submit their documented data for inclusion within JIMS to provide them with an archived backup, ensure its longevity, and provide online access to encourage synthesis efforts. Minimally, for non-LTER associated researchers, we request that publications be provided of research conducted on the Jornada Basin.

Initial documentation for a data set must be submitted to the Jornada Basin LTER data manager within 90 days of initiation of data collection. Documentation forms are available at These consist of Project Abstract and Data Set and Attribute documentation forms, which include objectives of the study, methods, as well as format and content of the data. All data collected during a calendar year should be submitted to the Jornada Basin LTER data manager prior to July first of the following year. First time data submissions must be submitted with updated standard Jornada Basin LTER forms previously submitted.

Data Access Policy:

Data will be made publicly available no later than 2 years after submission of the data unless an earlier date is specified by the principal investigator. In the event that an extension of the 2 year period is necessary, the principal investigator may petition the Jornada Basin LTER Executive Committee for a longer protected period. Graduate student research data will be available online after degree completion and they have the opportunity to publish their research.


Policies for re-use, distribution, or the production of derivatives:

Data re-use, distribution and production of derivative products are governed by the LTER Network data policies ( in the spirit of having the potential to increase communication, collaboration and synthesis within and among disciplines. Appropriate citation, acknowledgement, notification and collaboration are outlined and recommended. No commercial redistribution of data and derived products are allowed.


Data Acknowledgment Policy:

Please send notification to the Information Manager and Responsible Investigator(s) of the data sets you are downloading and your intended use.

Individuals and institutions utilizing data from the Jornada Basin LTER database are requested to place the following acknowledgment in any publication in which these data are mentioned:

Data sets were provided by the Jornada Basin Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) project. Funding for these data was provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation (Grant DEB-1235828).

Please send 1 copy of any publication that cites Jornada Basin LTER data to:

John P. Anderson
Jornada Experimental Range
P.O. Box 30003, MSC 3JER
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM 88003-0003