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From the GS President (#130)

At the Melbourne Goldschmidt Conference, the GS teamed with Kerstin Lehnert and the group from EarthChem← as well as William McDonough to foster a Town Hall meeting to discuss issues of data storage and sharing for geochemistry. This Town Hall meeting, as well as efforts by the GERM group and many others have led the GS to establish an ad hoc committee to discuss questions relevant to data and databases for geochemists. The ad hoc committee (Vince Salters, chair, Liane Benning, Jim Kubicki, Jerome Gaillardet, Bernard Marty) will be reporting to the GS Board at the Cologne Goldschmidt meeting. Given this ongoing discussion, I thought it would be useful here to summarize the data policy of the GS and the data policy of the Earth Sciences Division of the U.S. National Science Foundation.

The data policy of Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta is briefly stated:

Geochimica requests authors to publish all data (not previously published) which is referenced or otherwise used in a paper. This specifically includes data that might otherwise be displayed only graphically or referred to in summary form. If a dataset is extensive and would require excessive space to tabulate it may be presented in electronic annexes only. For data representing chemical or isotopic analysis of natural materials authors are also requested to provide specially-formatted computer-readable files for posting as electronic annexes, whether or not the data are also tabulated in the print version of the paper.

The US National Science Foundation Earth Sciences (EAR) Division states that,

Preservation of all data, samples, physical collections and other supporting materials needed for long-term earth science research and education is required of all EAR-supported researchers....Data should be made openly available as soon as possible, but no later than two years after the data were collected.

I have asked the ad hoc committee to address the following questions:

What issues should the Geochem Society be aware of concerning data, data storage, and data publication? What policy should be set by the Geochem Society concerning data storage and publication? Should this be a general policy, or just a policy for Geochimica Cosmochimica? Should the GS be doing anything proactively to promote data storage for geochemistry? How should the GS interact with funding agencies or with other societies to promote wide access to, ease of use, and longevity of geochemical data?

I am sure it would be of interest to the ad hoc committee if other geochemists worldwide would similarly research and share what the data policies are for their funding agencies. Please join me in thanking our ad hoc committee considering these questions on data policy, and by all means, write them if you have important thoughts of interest.

Susan L. Brantley, President of the Geochemical Society
Earth and Environmental Sciences Institute
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA 16802