Information Management

Data and Information Management

The goal of the PIE LTER data and information system is to provide a centralized network of information and data related to the Plum Island Ecosystem. This network provides researchers access to common information and data in addition to protected long-term storage. Data and information are also easily accessible to local, regional, and state partners and the broader scientific community. Researchers associated with PIE are committed to the integrity of the information and databases resulting from the research.

Research Project Design

Data management and design of research projects is coordinated through the information management team. The information management team consists of: Anne Giblin (Lead PI), Risa McNellis (IM), Ketil Koop-Jakobsen (PI) and research assistants associated with program areas. Several meetings each year provide each researcher the opportunity to communicate with the PIE information management team regarding the design of the specific research project and subsequent incorporation of data and information into the PIE LTER database. For immediate assistance, please contact the Information Manager at

Data Submission

Individual researchers are responsible for providing metadata and data via a PIE LTER Excel Metadata Template. Researchers on the PIE LTER are expected to follow the LTER Network data release policy defined on the LTER website. Researchers using the facilities of the PIE LTER are expected to comply with the LTER policy even if they are not funded by the LTER.

Original first version data files should be submitted using the Excel Metadata spreadsheet template and the resulting file should be submitted to the PIE LTER Information Manager. See Site and File Names for instructions on how to name data files and research site names. PIE reserves the right to edit metadata content for data compatibility with PIE and the LTER Network. Data file updates should be done by downloading the most recent version of the Excel data set from the Data area of the PIE web site. The Excel file metadata and data should be updated and the researcher should contact the PIE LTER Information Manager to indicate an updated data set will be submitted. Please contact the PIE Information Manager to discuss protocols for GIS data submission. Data should be submitted as a zipped directory of raster or vector data and metadata (see here for best practices regarding spatial data). We suggest using ArcCatalog to generate metadata if using ArcGIS, see the following PIE GIS Metadata instructions ESRI v1.3.pdf for instructions.

Data files must include accompanying documentation files that completely describe the data. PIE currently uses a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet template for managing metadata and data. The Excel template allows for:

  1. consistent metadata entry
  2. subsequent conversion via a visual basic macro to XML structured Ecological Metadata Language (EML 2.1.0) according to EML Best Practices for LTER Sites
  3. QA/QC checks for uploading to the LTER Network Metacat and PASTA Data Portals.

Individual researchers are responsible for quality assurance, quality control, data entry, validation and analysis for their respective projects. Researchers are reminded about contributions to the database several times during the year via email, teleconference calls and field sampling trips, in addition to announcements during our Annual Spring PIE LTER All Scientists Meeting. 

Data Accessibility

Researchers on the PIE LTER are required to contribute data to the PIE LTER database. It is recognized that investigators on PIE LTER have first opportunity for use of data in publications but there is also the realization for timely submittal of data sets for incorporation into the PIE LTER database. PIE strives to make data available within 1-2 years. The variability in time is dependent upon the time required for sample analysis and corresponding QA/QC of data and metadata. Many logger data sets, such as sonde water quality, water level, discharge and meteorological observations and data that do not require a great deal of post-collection chemical or other analysis, are available within 3-6 months of collection. Selected data (weather, water level and water quality) are made available in near real time to provide timely awareness of local conditions. PIE follows the data release policy for the LTER network:

  • Type I (data that is freely available within 2 years) with minimum restrictions
  • Type II (Exceptional data sets, rare in occurrence that are available only with written permission from the PI/investigator(s))

PIE strives to make datasets easily accessible to PIE LTER scientists, local, regional, and state partners and the broader scientific community. Datasets are available across the broad breadth of PIE research in the watersheds and estuary. We currently have no registration requirements for either observing or downloading data from our web site, which has resulted in seamless access to all PIE LTER data. All PIE data is licensed under CC BY 4.0.