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Data policy - Geospace Observatory (GO) Canada

1. Introduction

Geospace Observatory (GO) Canada is an array of ground-based instruments for remote-sensing geospace and a coordinated research program designed to advance understanding of the geospace system. GO Canada generates large and diverse volumes of space data and information that must be effectively managed to achieve the objectives of the program and to maximize the value of the data for scientific research and development of applications (e.g. space weather forecast products).

This policy is intended to be compatible with the data principles and policies of partner agencies, and Canadian government departments. The scope of this policy, however, is limited to the GO Canada initiative and is subject to higher-level policies of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The GO Canada Data policy applies to all projects funded through the GO Canada initiative; compliance with the policy is a condition of funding. The activities of each project are consistent with the GO Canada Data policy and are expressed in a data management plan.

The CSA's Sun-Earth System Sciences group is the author of the GO Canada Data policy. Questions about the policy and its implementation should be directed to the GO Canada Project Officer of the Sun-Earth System Sciences group at

2. Objectives

The purpose of the GO Canada Data policy is to ensure that high-value data are accessible both now and in the future. The value of the data is measured against GO Canada objectives for the benefit of the users: geospace scientists, space weather forecasters, and the general public. Taken together, high-value GO Canada data require:

Equally important are stable preservation and accessibility of GO Canada data throughout their lifecycle. In addition to ensuring that the data are available for future use, these objectives also enable citations to data. Citations are essential for recognition of data providers as important contributors to the advancement of science.

3. Data

For the purposes of this policy, data are defined as: the digital information output by an instrument, the products generated by processing the information, and the associated metadata. Intellectual property is specifically excluded from this definition.

This policy applies to the data generated by projects endorsed by the CSA as GO Canada projects. GO Canada projects include those supported through the CSA's GO Canada initiative as well as projects supported by partner agencies and other Canadian government departments that contribute to the objectives of GO Canada. It should be recognized, however, that GO Canada projects may use related data from outside sources, such as from space-based instruments. Such data are outside of the domain of this policy, but the principles of access and preservation of high-value data are encouraged to be applied in those cases.

4. Data access

In order to maximize the value of data gathered under the auspices of the GO Canada initiative, all data are made fully, freely, and openly available on the shortest feasible timescale. This policy follows international policy and practice, notably,

and is in accordance with

The only exceptions to this principle of full, free, and open access are:

The ICSU Assessment on Scientific Data and Information defines "full and open access" as equitable, non-discriminatory access to all data preferably free of cost, although some reasonable cost-recovery for distribution of the data is acceptable. WMO Resolution 40 uses the term "free and unrestricted" and defines this as non-discriminatory and without charge. "Without charge", in the context of this resolution, means a charge that is no more than the cost of reproduction and delivery and without charge for the data themselves.

Metadata are essential to the discovery, access, and effective use of data. All GO data include a full set of metadata that completely document and describe the data. As described in the Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS)Reference note 5, a complete set of metadata contains all the information necessary for the data to be independently understood by users and to ensure proper stewardship of the data.

The data associated with each GO instrument array are made available through a data "landing page". This is a web page at a stable URL through which the data may be accessed, both by people and by automated systems. It provides links to the data as well as contextual information to facilitate use of the data. It also serves as a publishing record for the data and may be used as an endpoint for citations to the data.

Regardless of any delays in delivery of the data themselves, all GO Canada projects funded by the CSA promptly provide basic descriptive metadata of collected data (no more than one week after acquisition by the instrument) in an internationally recognized, standard format to a CSA-approved catalogue or registry.

5. Data preservation

Recognizing that the significance of scientific data is often realized long after they have been collected, and to ensure the lasting legacy of GO Canada, it is essential to ensure long-term preservation of and sustained access to GO data throughout its life. GO data are preserved in their simplest, useful, machine readable form and are accompanied by a complete metadata description. Associated metadata records include descriptions of quality control procedures and processing that have been applied to the data.

6. Data citation

To recognize the important role of data providers and to facilitate repeatability of observations in keeping with the scientific method, users of GO data are required to cite the sources of the data and copyrighted products (analogous to article authors). Where possible, this citation should take the form of a formal citation to the data, such as the citations used when referring to a journal article. If a journal's editorial policies prohibit formal citation of the data, the citation should instead refer to a recommended journal article. The CSA will encourage journals to require formal citation of the data used in articles they publish.

7. Acknowledgement

Any publication that includes a citation to GO data should also acknowledge the CSA for funding the GO Canada project that generated the data. Any acknowledgement is acceptable as long as it includes the following text: "supported through the Geospace Observatory (GO) Canada initiative of the Canadian Space Agency". Here are two examples:

The authors thank J. Smith and the rest of the XYZ team for data. XYZ is operated by the University of ABC, and supported through the Geospace Observatory (GO) Canada initiative of the Canadian Space Agency.

This material is based upon work supported through the Geospace Observatory (GO) Canada initiative of the Canadian Space Agency.

8. Responsibilities

8.1 GO Canada projects

All GO Canada projects PIs are responsible for:

8.2 Canadian Space Agency

The CSA is responsible for the implementation of the GO Canada initiative. As such, it is responsible for:

9. Data rights and rules for data use

The terms for distribution and use of the GO data govern both the production and distribution of scientific datasets by GO Canada projects, as well as use of the GO data by the science community and general public. These terms are summarized below:

These terms are subject to change as the policies of the CSA and its partners change.

10. Appendix – Example implementation

The following is a brief example illustrating how a GO Canada project could implement the data policy. The comments in square brackets [] indicate the policy criteria addressed.

All project data are made accessible via ftp [open access: full, free, and unrestricted access] through a hierarchy of folders, structured by date [easy-to-use]. Low-resolution data are available five minutes after acquisition, high-resolution data are available within two months of acquisition when custodians ship disks to the project centre [rapid access]. The data are stored as CDF formatted files [open format] with descriptive and unique file names [well-documented]. The data are described using the SPASE metadata standard [well-documented; open format]; all metadata are available within one day of acquisition [rapid access].

All project data, metadata, and documentation are available through a data landing pageFootnote A and are updated daily [well-documented; open access; rapid access; easy-to-use]. We are committed to providing access to these data through this landing page until [stable, long-term access; citable]; the landing page includes instructions on how to cite the data [citable] and acknowledge the funding agencies [acknowledgement].

A customized version of the GO Canada Data rights and rules for data use is provided on the landing page, with links to the original at the GO Canada website.

11. References

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