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Data Management Policy

The Glover's Reef Marine Research Station (GRMRS) maintains a database of information on all research projects carried out at the station. The objectives of this policy are to create a complete record of investigations carried out at the station, promote the coordinated use of complementary data sets, encourage development of time-series data, and enhance the value of Glover's Reef Atoll as a research site, and facilitate use of findings from research conducted at GRMRS in Belize and elsewhere.

WCS recognizes the interest of researchers in controlling the use of data that they have collected. However, we also wish to avoid the loss of valuable information and to encourage a mutually constructive sharing of information.  This policy is intended to promote information sharing and prevent duplication of effort while protecting the interests of individual researchers regarding their data.

For these reasons, GRMRS implements the following data archival policy and service to develop a complete picture of research conducted at the station and to guarantee the long-term availability of relevant data sets and their protection from unauthorized use:

1. A research proposal is required before initiating work and a brief report summarizing observations, intended analysis and, if available, preliminary findings must be submitted at the end of each stay or within 30 days of departure from the GRMRS.  

2. Researchers must submit metadata in the format required, generally describing the data sets generated at GRMRS:  their topics, structure, availability, and contacts.  A description of the GRMRS metadata management procedure is attached as Appendix A.

3. Researchers may also be requested to submit fully documented project data sets for archiving in cases where the project involves data of broad utility or special interest (e.g., information on temporal patterns; spatially-referenced physical, chemical, and biological data; information on marked individuals of long-lived organisms; and data on rare or endangered species.)  Researchers will be notified in writing at the time of project proposal or subsequently if they will be requested to submit fully documented data sets.

4. Metadata will be incorporated into the GRMRS research project database and will be made available online and by request.

5. In the case of archived project data, GRMRS will safeguard data from release to persons not specifically authorized by the investigator for a period of five years after the data are deposited. This protection can be renewed every five years on written request of the investigator. The data will be made generally available in the absence of such a written request.  In the event of an investigator's death while archived project data are protected, data will be made generally available in the absence of contrary instructions.

6. In the case of projects now completed or already underway, researchers will be requested to provide metadata on work conducted to date in order to enhance the value of future data. 

7. Three copies of each publication generated by research conducted at GRMRS should be submitted to the Station Director.

8. Researchers should note that other requirements (regarding data transparency or security) may be imposed upon WCS or individual researchers from time to time by a Research License issued by the Belize Fisheries Department.

All researchers must sign the following statement:
I have read the Database Policy and agree to submit my metadata for general use and management by GRMRS and project data (if requested in writing during project approval), properly described, for archiving purposes. I also agree to send GRMRS three copies of each publication resulting from this work. The project proposal has been approved on ____________(date) by the GRMRS Station Manager, or will be submitted for approval on or about _____________(date).
____________________________________________   _________________________
Signature         Date
For additional information contact the Glover's Reef Marine Research Station Manager at

Appendix I:  Data Management Procedures for the
WCS Glover's Reef Marine Research Station
This document describes the data management procedures to be used at the Glover's Reef Marine Research Station (GRMRS). 

Data sets
The following data sets are maintained to control the data generated at GRMRS and to provide users with general information about the researchers, projects, and data.

Data set of researchers
Contains general information about the researchers working at GRMRS.  For each researcher it must include at least the following items:
• Biographical data
• Research interests
• Institutional affiliation
• Contact information

Data set of projects
Contains information about the research projects approved to be carried out at GRMRS. For each project it must include at least the following items:
• title of the project
• research question/topic of the project
• date of approval by GRMRS
• expected project duration
• researchers
• funding sources
• other institutions involved in the project
• dates of specific research visits
• list of data sets generated on that visit
• whether or not metadata about those data sets have been submitted
• additional comments

It should also be noted whether or not the project must submit complete data sets to be collected by the Station. This may not always be foreseen at the outset,  but may be requested subsequently

Metadata data set
This is the metadata database; it contains the description of the data sets generated at GRMRS: their topics, structure, availability and contacts.  For a full description of the content of this collection refer to the Instruction Guide for Completion of Metadata Fields (  Metadata must be submitted within 30 days of departing GRMRS and submission of metadata and reports from previous visits will be used to evaluate the acceptability of new research proposals.  Metadata should be submitted to the GRMRS Station Manager.

Metadata submissions should include the following:
• Title of Project
• Principal and associated researchers and addresses
• Dates of research
• Keywords for the project
• Scientific names
• Taxa
• Common names
• Scientific field
• Nutrients measured
• Number and identity of specimens taken, and site(s) where deposited
• Methods
• Location of project, including GRMRS grid system coordinates for research conducted within GRMRS boundaries.
• Trail use
• Markers or plots (for ongoing projects)
• Brief summary of results

Archived Project Data Set Repository
The Database Management Policy of GRMRS establishes that the GRMRS Station Manager may, at the time of project proposal submission or subsequently, request the submission of fully documented data sets.  The GRMRS Station Manager and the researchers involved will determine when the data sets will be archived and the nature of the research will be considered when establishing the submission date. However, most data should be archived six months after the end of the stay that generated the data.  Whenever a researcher submits a dataset for archiving, the researcher must provide the following:

Complete documentation of the datasets.  This documentation should follow the general guidelines mentioned above and the guidelines specified in the Instruction Guide for the Completion of Metadata Fields and the Detail Guide for Metadata of Submitted Data Sets ( 

The data must be submitted using an acceptable medium such as:
• 3 1/2" floppy disks
• Zip-drive disks
• e-mail attachments. 

The data must be submitted in one of the following formats:
• comma-separated ASCII file (CSV)
• Microsoft Excel
• dBase III (extension dbf)
Other formats may become acceptable as technology changes. Changes in the acceptable formats are left to the discretion of the GRMRS Station Manager.
• As described in the Data Management Policy, the researcher may choose to restrict access to the data for a five-year period, with the possibility of renewal, on appeal to the station Station Manager, in the case of ongoing research.  In that case, the data will be safeguarded from release according to the general Database Management Policy. 

Distribution of Data Sets
Datasets not restricted by their researchers will be incorporated into a new GRMRS on-line system of search and distribution.  It is the responsibility of the GRMRS Station Manager that no restricted data set is distributed without the consent of the researchers who generated that data set.   Metadata for all datasets are always incorporated into GRMRS's on-line system of search and distribution.  A reasonable amount of time before the restriction on dataset distribution expires, the researcher will be notified so that the restriction can be renewed.