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Frequently Asked Questions


“Research data are (digital) data that, depending on the scientific context, are related to, originate from, or are the result of a research process.” (Kindling et al. 2013).

Scientific data are created by a variety of methods, depending on the research question. These include studying source material, experiments, measurements, descriptions, surveys, or polls. The data are the basis of scientific results. This results in the recognition of discipline- and project-specific data with different requirements for processing and managing such data.

Since research data are necessary to verify the results based on them, the preservation of such data is a recognised part of good scientific practice (see, for example, “DFG-Leitlinien zum Umgang mit Forschungsdaten” (Guidelines on the handling of research data)).

Research data include measuring data, laboratory results, audio-visual information, texts, survey data, objects from collections or samples that are the result of, were developed, or evaluated during scientific work. Software, simulations or images are also included.

Yes. And only you decide what others may or may not do with your data. In order to make clear in which way your data may be reused or not, a licence directly connected to the data defines the copyrights and access rights. We will be happy to recommend a suitable licence and advise you on this topic.

Yes. The creator of the data of course has the right of first publication. It is therefore possible to implement embargos, in particular, but not limited to work associated with earning academic credit such as PhD theses. Even though the data are not publicly accessible during the embargo, they can already be published: thanks to the assigned DOI your data can be cited and your data publication can be found by search engines thanks to the assigned metadata.


Most publishers of geoscience journals support the publication of research data, some of them even require it. A great number of publishers have signed the COPDESS “Statement of Commitment“, in which they commit to support the publication of data and to accept citations of data sets in the lists of works cited in scientific articles. Copernicus, Elsevier, Science, SpringerNature and Wiley as well as societies such as the American Geophysical Union, the European Geosciences Union and the Geological Society of London have signed this statement.


How to publish data with FID GEO

Metadata are data that provide information about data. They consist of structured information that describes or helps localise resources or that makes it easier to access, use, or handle the corresponding resources in another way. The National Information Standards Organization offers a detailed description of what metadata are and how they are used: Understanding Metadata.

There are different types of metadata. The metadata for data discovery are the most important. In addition, there are structural and contextual metadata.

In order to make the automatic exchange of metadata possible, standardised, machine-readable metadata have been developed. These standards usually refer to the metadata for data discovery and include, for example, information on the authors and/or creators of the data, the title of the data set, the year the data was published and the geographic location, but also a brief description of the data set and the cross references to related published articles.

Contextual and structural metadata are information required for reusing the data, such as an overview of the units of the parameters in a table or information on data processing or an overview of all individual files of a data package. This type of metadata is often made available in the form of README.txt files or other supplementary documents.

You provide the metadata for data discovery (see answer to previous question) online, using an online metadata editor. Although the editor includes extensive user support, most users will find it easy to fill in the form. Since metadata play such an important role for your data to be found on the Internet later on, we will check your entries before publishing them.

Contextual and structural metadata (see answer to previous question) are provided in a useful format depending on the data set. We will be happy to give advice.

Not all data require the same type of metadata. This is why different metadata schemes for different types of data and data from different disciplines have emerged over time. We use the DataCite metadata scheme.


A DOI is an online reference assigned to a digital resource (e.g. an article in a journal or research data) to give it a unique and permanent reference on the Internet. The DOIs are permanently connected to the digital resource – regardless of changes on websites or servers being shut down (in this case a DOI is simply rerouted to a new URL). The use of DOIs, for example, prevents the occurrence of dead links when publishers change the web address of a server. Among all the different ways to reference digital objects on the Internet permanently, DOIs have become the leading system when publishing text and data.


We will take care of assigning a DOI to your publication. DOIs are assigned based on the rules of the International DOI Foundation. The German Research Centre for Geosciences, GFZ, is a DOI publication agent and assigns the DOIs for data publications of GFZ Data Services. FID GEO takes advantage of the competency and infrastructure of GFZ Data Services not only to assign DOIs, but for the entire process of data publication.


There are no fixed specifications, but recommendations are offered by, for example, the UK Data Service and Stanford University. We will be happy to advise you.

In general, the following applies: data should be exchangeable without barriers and readable by others. Ideal formats are non-proprietary, unencrypted and commonly known across your research community and are based on open, documented standards. If the problem of proprietary formats occurs, in particular in the case of commercial software, you may be able to convert the data into open, standardised formats. Open and common formats are always preferable to proprietary formats if they achieve the same results or can be used accordingly without much effort.