U.S. JGOFS Synthesis & Modeling Project

USJGOFS SMP Research Working Groups Updates Contacts Reprints Data

DATA: Model-Data Policy

data bar
Inventory Data SMP LAS Guidelines Resources Data Policy Survey Links
Written July, 1998
Revised October, 1998

The overall objectives of the U.S. JGOFS Synthesis and Modeling Project (SMP) depend on the synthesis of observational and model generated data. From its inception, U.S. JGOFS has acknowledged the importance and net benefit of open and timely data exchange. The PIs of the field programs (time-series, process studies, and global survey) have followed a data policy whereby observations are released to the public within two years of the end of the cruise via the web-based JGOFS data system and are made available to other JGOFS PIs prior to that time. U.S. JGOFS SMP recognizes the necessity for a model-data policy management strategy that addresses both the goals of the program and the needs of individual PIs. In order to facilitate the distribution of synthetic data products, model code, and model results generated by JGOFS SMP sponsored research, a unified SMP model-data policy has been established. The JGOFS SMP model-data policy is designed to 1) encourage the timely distribution and exchange of relevant synthetic data and model output, 2) promote the ethical use of such data and model output, and 3) insure the scientific repeatability of results via thorough documentation describing the data, models, and modeling strategies (i.e., boundary conditions and model protocols).

Synthetic and Model-Data

Within this document, the phrase "model-data" encompasses the broad range of numerical and synthetic scientific data products developed under SMP sponsored research. They include, but are not limited to, historical data not currently archived or accessible through the JGOFS data system, compilations and synthesis of JGOFS and historical data across multiple field programs, derived quantities and interpolated fields, calculated data products from remote sensing and satellite observations, and numerical model results, code, and forcing data.


The U. S. JGOFS Steering committee, with the advice and guidance of the SMP co-coordinators, is responsible for the review and implementation of the SMP model-data policy. All U.S. JGOFS SMP PIs are encouraged to follow SMP model-data policies. The JGOFS steering committee and SMP co-coordinators will be notified of any instances where SMP model-data policies are not being followed. The situation will be reviewed by the steering committee and co-coordinators, upon which the steering committee may recommend a course of action.


The U.S. JGOFS SMP model-data policy borrows concepts from the U.S. JGOFS Data Policy, U.S. Globec Data Policy (Globec Report Number 10), and the CoOP Data Policy. Like the U.S. JGOFS data policy, the U.S. JGOFS SMP model-data policy is based on voluntary model-data exchange for the mutual benefit of SMP PIs and the broader marine biogeochemical community. The U.S. JGOFS SMP model-data policy encourages the voluntary two-way exchange of observational data, synthetic data, and model results among investigators via the following guidelines:

Implementation and Model-Data Archive

A U.S. JGOFS SMP model-data archive will be developed to facilitate data acquisition, public distribution, and long-term preservation. The model-data archive will be established within the framework of the existing U.S. JGOFS Data Management System (DMS) and will be implemented by the U.S. JGOFS Data Management Office (DMO) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

SMP PIs are encouraged to archive all relevant oceanographic, biologic, ecologic, and biogeochemical data generated by numerical models developed and/or implemented with the support of JGOFS SMP sponsorship within the time limits explained above.

While recognizing the right of model-data developers to the first use of the data they generate, SMP encourages the timely sharing of model-data and discourages the restriction of model-data availability in all but exceptional cases. Access of model-generated data will be limited to other SMP PIs for a period of one year after submittal. Passwords will be required for model-data access during the one year "PI only" phase of availability. The model-data will become available to the general scientific community after one year, unless prior arrangements have been made with the JGOFS steering committee and the DMO.

PIs will submit their data to the DMO at WHOI, where the data will be loaded and maintained (see the DMS documentation for more detail). With prior arrangement, the PI may choose to serve their own data, particularly results from data intensive applications such as 3-D models, with the understanding that they will maintain the data for the same period of time as the DMO. The PI will be responsible for the final quality of the data on the DMS. The PI will have access to the DMS and should correct any errors recognized after the data have been submitted.

Archived computer model-data should include model source code and a complete description of model protocols and boundary conditions (metadata). The model-data should include sufficient explanation so that they can be understood by persons having knowledge typical of SMP PI's. Documentation of model-simulation protocols should be thorough enough to allow other investigators to repeat the model simulations themselves.

The U.S. JGOFS SMP model-data policy recognizes that each modeling effort supported by SMP is unique. Model generated data sets, especially those produced by Ocean General Circulation Models (OGCMs) can be very large, taxing data storage facilities. Therefore, it will be the responsibility of the individual PIs to edit their model output where appropriate, before submitting the data for distribution. Such editing should be based on the PI's judgment of what model-generated fields may be of use to observationalists and/or other modelers. PIs should contact the DMO directly regarding required model-data format.

Questions or Comments - Email Cyndy Chandler