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FSP Data Policy

  1. Introduction

    SDSU Field Stations Program (FSP) is committed to collecting, sharing and understanding environmental information. FSP has developed the following Data Management Concepts, Data Use Guidelines, and Data User Agreement to govern the collection and sharing of information at its field stations. We believe that appropriate documentation, sharing, and acknowledgement of environmental information promotes scientific discoveries and understanding.

  2. FSP Data Management Concepts

    Several concepts are essential to understanding and observing FSP Data Policy. The concepts are explained below.

    Non-proprietary data

    A large amount of environmental and historical data have been collected at FSP reserves that is freely available to all researchers and educators. FSP and its collaborators collect monitoring and research data both manually and through automated instruments, which are non-proprietary and freely available. These include publications, lists, tables, maps, videos, images, physical samples, and can exist in various forms, including paper publications, electronic files, and webpages. Data orginally collected as proprietary data by reserve users become non-proprietary 3 years following the end of the research project. The use of all non-proprietary data must be accompanied by proper acknowledgement, as described below.

    Proprietary data

    Data collected for and by non-FSP personnel are considered proprietary. All data collected on FSP reserves must be submitted to FSP at the end of the project, as indicated on the corresponding FSP reserve use application. After 3 years, the data becomes non-proprietary and will be freely available for research and education. The 3 year period provides data collectors with a reasonable amount of time to publish original study results. FSP reserves the right to use proprietary data in support of FSP projects after the original data collectors have published their results. The use of allproprietary data in publications must be accompanied by proper acknowledgement, as described below.


    Metadata is information about data. FSP collects metadata about projects conducted at FSP reserves, and they include project title, description, personnel, locations, and sampling methods. Collection and publication of metadata by FSP is central to its mission to share and understand environmental information. FSP’s catalog of metadata is available online as Project Registry. Metadata may indicate where data may be obtained, but does not include the data itself. Metadata is non-proprietary and freely available. All who apply to conduct research at FSP reserves are required to create an entry in the Project Registry when the application is approved, and required to update the entry with current information until the end of the project period. Some qualifying education or community-use of FSP reserves also may be required to submit an entry to the Project Registry.

  3. Data Use Guidelines

    Appropriate and Inappropriate Uses

    Information, data, images, videos and samples collected on FSP reserves may be used for scientific research, publication, and education in public and private venues. Information, data, images, and samples collected on FSP reserves may not be used for commercial purposes.

    Credit and Acknowledgments

    Giving proper credit and acknowledgement of support provided by organizations and individuals fosters a spirit of collaboration, sharing, and mutual support. Proper credit given to FSP enables it to continue to provide support to research and education. All publications and presentations resulting from using FSP reserves must acknowledge SDSU Field Stations Program and the specific reserve where the activity took place. Suggested formats and examples of acknowledgments and citations are provided below.

    Citations should include SDSU Field Stations Program as well as the specific reserve. Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve should be cited as “SDSU Field Stations Program Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve.” Sky Oaks Field Station should be cited as “SDSU Field Stations Program Sky Oaks Field Station.” Fortuna Mountain Research Reserve is located within and managed in collaboration with Mission Trails Regional Park, and therefore should be cited, “SDSU Field Stations Program Fortuna Mountain Research Reserve within Mission Trails Regional Park.” Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve is managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and California State Parks, and is an SDSU Auxiliary Field Station. It should be cited, “Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, an SDSU Auxiliary Field Station.”

    Suggested format and example identifying a FSP reserve in text:

    • Samples were collected at <field station>.
    • Samples were collected at SDSU Field Stations Program Sky Oaks Field Station.

    Suggested format and example citing non-proprietary data:

    • <field station>. <year>. <dataset name>. <URL>. Accessed <access date>.
    • SDSU Field Stations Program Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve. 2005. Meteorology Data. Accessed 2005-06-17.

    Suggested format and example citing proprietary data:

    • <project principle investigators or publication authors>. <year>. <project or publication title>. <field station>, San Diego, CA.
    • Syphard, A., J. Franklin, D. Simons, M. Pohl. 2003. Analysis of long-term effects of different fire regimes on succession, vegetation composition, and critical habitat for maintaining biodiversity. SDSU Field Stations Program Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve, San Diego, CA.

    Images acquired within FSP reserves or FSP website, including photographs and videos, must display proper acknowledgement in or near the image shown at the time the image is shown.

    Suggested format and example of image acknowledgement:

    • Photograph by <person>, taken at <field station>.
    • Photograph by Joe Verfaille, taken at SDSU Field Stations Program Sky Oaks Field Station.


  4. Data Use Agreement

    Before acquiring and using any data available through the SDSU Field Stations Program, the user must agree to the following conditions and responsibilities:

    1. The data user agrees to contact FSP and any relevant data authors and describe how the data will be used, publication intentions and contact information for the proposed user.
    2. FSP gives data for use in a specific research project. The data user agrees not sell or distribute the data to anyone outside the specified research project.
    3. The data user agrees to credit FSP, the reserve where information was collected, and any relevant data authors in publications or products.
    4. The data user agrees to provide any manuscript using FSP data for review by FSP and data authors 30 days before submitting it for publication. The review will examine only the proper observation of FSP Data Policy.
    5. The data user agrees to provide a copy of publications using FSP data to FSP within 90 days of the publication date.
    6. The data user agrees to provide copies of data products, including images, artwork, lists, data sets, reports, resulting from FSP data or work on an FSP reserve within 6 months of their creation. Proprietary data will be made freely available 3 years after the end of the project.
    7. Data provided by FSP main contain error due to sampling equipment, sampling method, data storage media, or data transfer method. The data user agrees to assume all responsibility for interpreting the data correctly.
    8. FSP reserves the right to revoke access to FSP data when the date user violates Data Policy and Date User Agreement. The data user agrees to forfeit FSP data and access to the data if FSP revokes access to it.