OTN Data Policy

How the OTN Data Policy works, and how it applies to each category of data produced by telemetry-based and other studies undertaken by OTN collaborators

Data Policy

In an era that is increasingly cognizant of the value of open data, it is often desired by researchers and the bodies which provide funding for their research that data collected in the course of a study or research program be made available to the public as soon as is reasonable, in order to maximize the utility of that data.

"[D]ata sharing can maximize the efficiency and utility of funding for ecological research and accelerate the advancement of the science. " (Nguyen et al, 2016-0261 CJFAS)

While there is concrete benefit to sharing and cross-referencing technologically compatible telemetry studies, there are understandable concerns surrounding the publishing of telemetry data. The OTN Data Policy was designed to balance the utility of data sharing, both within the acoustic telemetry community and with the broader public, against the real and practical concerns of sharing this very sensitive ecological information. The concerns of the telemeters who are studying their tagged species are enshrined in a waivable embargo period that grants researchers time to complete their work while ensuring a pathway to the public domain for their research data. In both states of embargo and publication, the citation and collaborative rights of the data-producing researcher are retained and respected.

OTN’s data policy very simply is: all acoustic receiver metadata (information about the deployments, offloads, and recoveries of listening stations) are made public as soon as is practical. The detection data retrieved by these operations are not included in the information that is immediately publicized. Animal tagging metadata and their association with detections on any OTN platform are by default placed under 2 year embargo, i.e. will be kept private (PI access and designates only) until 2 years following the expiration of the tag (based on estimated tag life as provided by the vendor). PIs may request extensions to the embargo period, with the OTN Deployment Committee reviewing and approving requests. Earlier release of a researcher's matched detection data is highly desirable and this information can be distributed immediately upon request by the tagging investigator(s).

Bar Plot of OTN Tag Release Schedule

Oceanographic Observations

Oceanographic observations, whether or not they are captured on OTN funded equipment, are to be submitted directly (in real time if feasible) to the appropriate International Ocean Exchange (IODE) National Oceanographic Data Centre (NODC). They will be responsible for quality control and ensuring the data is submitted into the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). All OTN data products, where feasible, will be based on the oceanographic data being managed by NODCs and GOOS.

Use of Public Data

The OTN Data Policy prescribes that all individuals who access OTN data shall provide proper attribution to all Data Providers. The public-facing OTN Data endpoints (ERDDAP, GeoServer) contain citation metadata in each row of their station, detection and animal datasets. In this way, users that download and subsequently subset their copy of the data may still identify the various provenance of their filtered/subsetted data.

Use of the OTN-provided data confers responsibility for investigating and understanding the limitations of the OTN datasets. Neither OTN nor the Data Provider will be held responsible for any inaccuracies in the provided data. Data may be updated as new detections, details of the station deployments, etc. are received and processed at the OTN Data Centre. Any problems with the OTN datasets provided should be reported to the OTN Data Centre for investigation.