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Data Use Policy

A. Principles for data collection, documentation, and storage

We encourage collaborators working to collect data from the Curtis sites to share data with us and the wider scientific community.

1. Quality. Field-collected data must be carefully collected, vouchered, and checked to ensure high quality. All species should be accurately identified in the field with voucher specimens being regularly collected, confirmed, and deposited in the Wisconsin State Herbarium (WIS). These vouchers should include specific locale information (including Curtis site number) as well as a sample for possible genetic analysis (dried in a bag with silica gel).

2. Description. All data should be carefully organized for current and future access. Data files should have a clear, standard, and accessible format. The data themselves and their organization / format should be carefully described and fully documented. These meta-data should include a full description of the source and composition of the data as well as how the data files are organized and relate to each other.. For spreadsheets, this should include one or more additional pages with full and complete descriptions of each variable name and descriptions (or links to descriptions) of the methods used to collect the data (e.g., published papers and/or protocols).

3. Archiving and redundancy. Data should be duplicated and backed-up, ideally in both paper and electronic forms. We provide safely backed-up permanent storage for all our files and encourage partnering collaborators to do the same.

4. Data corrections and updates. All data files must have explicit version numbers and/or dates associated with them. If and when any collaborator finds an error in the data or has any other need to amend a data file, this should be documented in the meta-data and distributed to PEL.

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