Community Data Standards

A key objective of LinkedEarth is to promote the development of a community standard for paleoclimate data and metadata. (for more details, see this page)

The work done on LiPD, which closely mirrors our ontology, provides a stepping stone for this effort. Building on this, the workshop on paleoclimate data standards served as a focal point to initiate a broader process of community engagement and feedback elicitation to generate a community-vetted standard. The workshop identified the necessity to distinguish a set of essential, recommended and desired properties for each dataset. A consensus emerged that these levels are archive-specific, as what is needed to intelligently re-use a marine-annually resolved record could be quite different than what is needed to intelligently re-use an ice core record, for instance. It was decided that archive-centric working groups (WGs; self-assembled coalitions of knowledgeable experts) would be best positioned to elaborate and discuss the components of a data standard for their specific sub-field of paleoclimatology. It is also critical to ensure interoperability between standards to enable longitudinal (multiproxy) investigations.

This process contributes to the data stewardship initiative of our PAGES/Future Earth partners. Therefore, we are working together with PAGES to reach out to the broadest cross-section of paleoscientists and invite them to contribute to the process.  The end goal is a standard to be precisely documented and adopted by LinkedEarth and PAGES. The standard will be implemented in all LinkedEarth activities and proposed for adoption to EarthCube, the Research Data Alliance, the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners, NOAA WDS-Paleo and Pangaea.

A scholarly product will be a peer-reviewed publication presenting the standard and detailing the decisions that led to it. Pursuant to PAGES policies, authorship will be extremely inclusive and acknowledge all scientific input into the process.

The Standards Development process involves 5 major phases, with a timeline of approximately 8 months:

  1. Organizing Phase [3 weeks]

    • LinkedEarth and PAGES will publicize the activity via blogs, social media, and a PAGES mailer.
    • WGs will start coalescing around coordinators whose role is to organize discussions and coordinate with other WGs. Coordinators need to be members of the LinkedEarth community, and anyone can apply to start a WG.
    • To join a WG, one needs to join LinkedEarth, identify a suitable WG, and contact its leader(s). If the WG you want does not exist or has no leader yet, consider the position! (contact linkedearth@gmail.com, if so).
  2. Input Phase [8 weeks]

    • WG leaders will organize discussion primarily through an email list, as well as any means  (e.g. forums, Slack) they may find appropriate.
    • Each WG will have 6 weeks to generate recommendations on the following topics:
      • what are the most important questions we should ask of these datasets? In the framework of these questions:
      • for new datasets, what should be essential, recommended, and desired (meta)data?
      • for legacy datasets, what should be essential, recommended, and desired (meta)data? (also: how should one delineate new from legacy datasets?)
    • These recommendations will be written on each's group's wiki page (e.g. this one). These pages need to be updated regularly so everyone can follow the progress of each group.
    • The LinkedEarth leadership team and team leaders will hold regularly online meetings to ensure parallel progress and interoperability.
  3. Review/Revision Phase [ 6 weeks]

    • WGs will review each other's proposals and look for commonalities and differences.
    • WGs leaders will discuss how to harmonize proposals. The discussion will be mediated via the LinkedEarth wiki. 
    • WG leaders will revise their proposals according to this discussion and ask WG members for input. [ 2 weeks]
  4. Voting Phase [ 2 weeks]

    • LinkedEarth members will vote on ratifying the proposed standard [1 week] (note for Varun/Yolanda: this assumes that users can join a specific working group and only vote there - how will we do this?)
    • Results will be summarized and communicated by the LinkedEarth leadership team. [1 week]
    • The adopted standard will be described on a dedicated wiki page.
  5. Dissemination Phase [12 weeks]

    • Based on that wiki page, a writing team (provisionally, LinkedEarth leadership + WG leaders)  will start drafting an article on a collaborative authoring platform (e.g. Overleaf or Authorea).
    • The draft will be widely circulated via PAGES channels, and publicized at the PAGES Open Science Meeting.
    • All LinkedEarth members will be given the opportunity to provide input. [2 weeks].
    • The article will be submitted for review in a leading paleoscience journal.