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Data Policy

The primary goal of the Baltic Sea mesozooplankton study initiative and data compilation effort is to assemble a pan-Baltic collection of raw zooplankton time series data in an effort to look at all-Baltic patterns and ecosystem dynamics at multiple spatial and cross-disciplinary scales. Network of participants recognizes that each investigator values their hard-collected data, and that they wish to protect it from misuse and/or unattributed use. Network also recognizes that, if combined with the number of other data sets of the anticipated additional contributions, these data could become part of something bigger and even more valuable to the scientific community. The intent of the Baltic mesozooplankton initiative data policy is therefore to protect these individual data components while facilitating large-scale investigations being pursued by the participants of network by following benefits:

Increasing potential for collaborations: After contributing your data to the network, it will be worked into harmonized format and taxonomy, facilitating the use of your data together with all other datasets from the Baltic Sea without further effort from your side. Any subsets of data, by species, group, date or location, will be produced upon request at any time by the data manager. It is an investment of time and expertise that data manager is providing to the members of network in exchange of contributing the data, significantly reducing the future time and effort on data preparation works, whenever any of the network members comes up with a hypothesis to test. Data manager (Riina Klais) also provides statistical support and advise, in addition to maintaining the dataset.

Co-Authorship and/or Acknowledgment: Acknowledgment will always be given to each contributor. Co-authorship is assumed in cases where a smaller collection of data sets are intensively used in a more focused study (i.e., if your site was one of couple of other sites looking at a specific species group within similar hydrographic environments). Co-authorship has to be decided on a case-by-case basis (e.g., how many sites will be used, will you also contribute expertise in results interpretations or manuscript writing help) during the study plan discussion.

Discussion and study plan prior to data exchange: It is not the intent of the network to produce any rude surprises or results that may counter your own work. If anyone in the network or outside the network proposes a new study, initial discussion involving all data providers and their proposed contributions has to be arranged, creating official plan for a study, including the data involved, co-authorship and acknowledgments.

The raw data (e.g., the original data files or spreadsheets which are submitted to the network by data providers) will only be handled by and accessible to the data manager (currently Riina Klais). The master dataset is technically an interpretation of the raw data, and it is a common intellectual property of the network, because it is a product of the original data and expert knowledge of data providers, as well as data managers vision of most effective data organization. However, the data itself remains a property of original data providers - when the request for using the data outside the network and without contributing any data, is received, the investigator will be instructed to contact the researchers owing the datasets of interest directly, before providing any data to third parties, and follow the same discussion and study plan procedure, as the members of the network internally do.