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How to publish data

How to publish your data with FID GEO

FID GEO uses the GFZ Data Services repository at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam to publish research data.

The service is supervised by specialists at the German Research Centre for Geosciences, GFZ, in Potsdam, who are familiar with geoscientific data. They oversee the GFZ data repository, which has been publishing data sets with DOIs since 2004 and are, at the same time, actively involved in the international development of state-of-the-art research data management.

  • DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) are assigned to guarantee the unique and permanent identification of data on the Internet.
  • We make sure that your data appear in catalogues relevant for geoscientists around the world, thus guaranteeing the highest possible level of visibility in your research community.
  • We know which metadata are best suited to describe geoscientific data.
  • We also offer advice on data documentation and are able to provide information on data quality.
  • We make sure that data and corresponding published texts are electronically connected.
  • We can also advise you regarding legal aspects, in particular on topics such as control and reuse of your data. Depending on your needs, we can recommend the appropriate licenses that clearly define how others can use your data.

The FID GEO service is limited to the publication of research data that provide the basis for an article published in a scientific journal. If you would like to publish other types of data, such as data not yet linked to a text published in a scientific journal or data you don’t plan to link to a published text, we will be happy to advise you.

Just send us an e-mail or call. Publishing research data is usually straightforward, but depending on the type and amount of data different things may need to be considered. We will help you and make sure that your data are citable, licensed and permanently available and that the data can be found worldwide, all according to the latest standards.

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.

There are different initiatives that promote progress in the publication of research data. Three of the most important initiatives for the publication of geoscientific data are described below.

Coalition on Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences (COPDESS)

With its initiative, this group of publishers and data facilities has created a framework for the joint development of policies and approaches to how to publish and cite data. In its “Statement of Commitment” the group recommend, among other things, to make specialist databases accessible. In this statement the publishers commit to providing information on the storage location and availability of the data related to a journal article. Moreover, the citation of data sets in scientific publications is equivalent to the citation of published journal articles.

Since January 2015, more than 40 publishers and scientific institutions, organisations and data facilities have signed the statement. These include publishers like 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.

Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles (JDDCP)

In order to be able to use data publications to their full potential, the data must be cited appropriately. If the data is to be reused, it is, for example, important that the citations are not just human-readable but also machine-readable. The Force 11 “Data Citation Synthesis Group” has published recommendations for good practice for publishing data with the “Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles (JDDCP)”.

Guiding Principles for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable Data Publishing (FAIR Principles)

The “FAIR Principles” offer further practical information in addition to the JDDCP mentioned above. The FAIR Principles are guidelines and recommendations for practical use and are intended to make it easier to find, access and reuse published data. A detailed description of the Priniples was published by Wilkinson et al. 2016.

The data are stored in the data repository of the German Research Centre for Geosciences, GFZ, where they are permanently available. The GFZ has been publishing geoscientific research data since 2004 and ensures technical integrity and long-term availability of the data.


Data sets that have been assigned a DOI must not be changed. It is, however, possible to assign a new DOI to changed data sets.

Exceptions are constantly growing dynamic data sets, such as the time series from a climatological station. Here, new data can be added to the existing data set without changing the DOI IF the already published data have not been changed. However, the moment the already published data set is changed (e.g. after the removal of outliers or a recalibration) a new version of the DOI must be created. When a DOI gets a new version, this will be indicated in both the original and the new version.

Subject-specific services such as FID GEO are deeply rooted in their disciplines and usually offer specific advantages for that reason, for example regarding the documentation of the data or the visibility for the research community. Our “Frequently Asked Questions” list more advantages of publishing research data with FID GEO.

If your home institution agrees, the presentation of your data published with FID GEO on the Internet can be adapted to the look and feel of your home institution’s websites. It is possible, for example, to display all FID GEO data publications of a specific university on the Internet with the web design elements of that university. This emphasizes your affiliation with your home institution and at the same time increases the visibility of the institution on the Internet.

If your home institution also offers the publication of data, you should inform the institution of your publication with FID GEO. This is important to make sure that the metadata of your publication are also added to your home institution’s catalogue and can be used there for, for example statistical evaluations with regard to the performance-based allocation of resources. We will be happy to contact your institution.

How to publish your data with GFZ Data Services

  • For the first step of your data publication, please submit all necessary information about the data (the metadata) to GFZ Data Services. Use the GFZ Metadata Editor for this purpose.
  • The help for the GFZ Metadata Editor ("Help on Form") as well as the detailed description/explanation of the metadata fields ("Help on Metadata fields") are available in the right menu of the Metadata Editor (About/Help).
  • Fields marked in red are mandatory. In order to increase the worldwide findability of the data, we recommend that you fill in as many additional fields as possible.
  • Please send your data to If the files are too large to be sent by e-mail, please contact us so that we can find other ways to transfer the data.