Flood Risk in Extreme Events (FREE) Data Protocol

This document describes the data management policy for the FREE programme which will be endorsed by the Steering Committee. The primary aim of the FREE data protocol is These aims conflict at times, and it is hoped that the provisions of the protocol resolve these conflicts fairly. It is recognised that this cannot always be achieved to everyone's complete satisfaction; there are bound to be cases where individual interests clash with those of the FREE programme. Therefore to try to meet these aims, all PIs involved in FREE, in accordance with and on behalf of their co-investigators, have agreed to abide by the following conditions as part of the acceptance of the grant award:

Data management

Data collected within the FREE programme will comply with NERC's policy on data management (http://www.nerc.ac.uk/research/sites/data/policy.asp). The main objective of this policy is to ensure that the data will contribute to a key NERC resource, which will continue to be exploited both scientifically and commercially long after the formal end of the programme. The management of the data collected within the FREE programme will be the responsibility of the relevant NERC Designated Data Centres (e.g. BADC, BODC, CEH), and funds will be made available from the FREE budget to support this activity.

Recommended FREE data policy (in line with other Thematics)

Representatives from the BADC, BODC and CEH data centres proposed the following data policy for the FREE programme, which is to be ratified by the full Steering Committee and will apply to all projects funded through FREE:

    Responsibilities of project leaders and data producers

  1. Data1 should be lodged with the appropriate data centre on acquisition2, together with such metadata as are defined under the FREE data management plan.
    1. Data: includes observations, model output, data syntheses, and data-model syntheses. Model codes should also be lodged when developed.
    2. 2 On acquisition: the time-scale may vary between data types (for example, real-time data could go directly to a data centre) but the overall aim is to keep the time-scale as short as possible and certainly less than 6 months. This is to ensure that data acquired during FREE are available to the FREE community within the lifetime of the programme.
  2. Any corrections, improvements or amendments to data must be lodged with the appropriate data centre as soon as possible.
  3. If data from other sources, collated or digitized as part of a project, is to be stored in a FREE data centre, permission must be obtained from each source by the Principal Scientist and project team for the data centre to store and distribute the data before submission. The details of this permission must be discussed and accepted by the data centre prior to them accepting the data. The principle investigator supplying such data must establish ownership/IPR restrictions/constraints on the data and must ensure that this permission allows for the data to be made publicly available after the 2 year embargo ends (see conditions g and h below).
  4. Data submitted to the data centre must be in the data format agreed between the data centre and PI.
  5. In addition, all agreed metadata must be supplied to the data centre in the format agreed between the data centre and PI.
  6. In order to compile a directory of resources used in the FREE programme, project teams should submit details of the data used (in addition to that collected or produced) within their project to the BADC.

    Conditions of data access and use

  7. Data will be embargoed for 2 years after the end of the programme unless this is prohibited under EIC regulations or the embargo waived by the data provider. This embargo is to allow the PI and co-workers to exploit it in the first instance. The metadata will not be embargoed, to allow the wider community to be aware of work being carried out under FREE and facilitate community building.
  8. Data will be made available immediately to the wider FREE community for use in FREE projects, and publicly 2 years after the end of the programme.
  9. Anyone making use of FREE data within 2 years of the end of the programme will be required to include the PI and/or co-workers (as appropriate) as co-author/s on any resulting papers, if the PI and/or co-workers so desire.
  10. PIs making use of FREE data are responsible for ensuring that the data used in publications are the best available at the time.
  11. While data are restricted from the public domain, no data will be transferred to parties outside the programme, or used for non-FREE related activities, without the explicit agreement of the originator. In addition, guidance will need to be sought from the Science Coordinator and the Steering Committee if major data transfers are involved, to avoid compromising the interests of other programme participants.


  12. In the event of dispute, the final decision rests with the FREE Science Coordinator and the Steering Committee.
  13. PIs and/or co-workers failing to comply with the FREE data policy would be subject to appropriate sanctions.