Data Use Policy
C. 2a. Raw community resurvey data
These are the raw form of the contemporary resurvey data. Once the lead researchers have published their lead findings based on these data, they make these data available for further and wider use. In some cases, researchers have a series of papers planned using the same data. Until these planned papers are published, they may prefer to continue to restrict access to these data to their prior and immediate collaborators for an interim period, not to exceed two years.
After this window of time, the data will become publicly available. We still ask other users to inform the PEL of their use of these data, acknowledge the source(s) of the data plus the lead researchers involved, and post their papers, or at least a citation, to the list of PEL publications maintained on our website (http://www.botany.wisc.edu/PEL/).
These data are available for legitimate academic use. Those to anyone that submits a letter of request, along with this signed data user agreement, to the PI(s) associated with the selected data. Considerable time and knowledge usually goes into editing and synchronizing such raw field data before they are suitable for analyses. We therefore recommend that raw data only be used by persons with suitable experience and knowledge of the mid-Western flora.
C. 2b. Synchronized community data
These are the versions of the data that we use in most of our publications. Most researchers making comparisons between the original PEL data and contemporary re-survey data spend months to years editing and taxonomically synchronizing these data sets to make them ready for fair comparisons and analyses. Taxonomic errors in identification were discovered for some species notoriously difficult to identify (e.g., Viola spp., Carex spp., Dryopteris spp., Sanicula spp., etc.). In addition, updated taxonomy may has resulted in new species being recognized now that were not recognized in the 40s-50s, or species recognized then may being lumped. To address these issues, we made many decisions on whether or not to lump species, sometimes making different decision depending on the nature of the analyses involved (e.g., within or among sites). We document these decisions in the metadata associated with particular files and ask others to do the same. Any researchers with limited experience with the Midwestern flora and these plant communities those limited in the time they can spend making these decisions should seek out collaborators that have this detailed knowledge.
C. 2c. Environmental and other data types
Researchers have collected a variety other data on both species and PEL sites. See the table below for who to contact regarding these data.
- Plant traits. These data include 35 categorical and quantitative traits (species means) for the 235 most abundant forest understory species in Wisconsin.
- Landscape data. Landscape variables for many of our forest sites have derived from detailed analyses of aerial photographs generally for a radius of 2 km from the center of the site. More limited data are available from early (1950 era) aerial photos. Coarser scale ‘Wiscland’ data are also available for radii of 1, 2, and 5 km for many sites.
- Soil data. Soil texture and nutrient content data are available for the majority of sites resampled in the 2000+ period. These may or may not correspond to soil conditions in the 1950s.
Light data. Light availability (generally % open sky, as estimated from hemispherical photos) is available for many of the resurveyed southern and northern upland sites.