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DataONE Users Procedural Guidelines

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DataONE Users Group and its Responsibilities

DataONE (Observation Network for Earth) is created to ensure the preservation and access to multi-scale, multi-discipline, and multi-national science data. DataONE will transcend domain boundaries and make biological data available from the genome to the ecosystem; make environmental data available from atmospheric, ecological, hydrological, and oceanographic sources; provide secure and long-term preservation and access; and engage scientists, land-managers, policy makers, students, educators, and the public through logical access and intuitive visualizations.

The foundation for excellence of DataONE is the established partnerships among participating organizations that have decades-long expertise in a wide range of fields that includes: existing archive initiatives, libraries, environmental observing systems and research networks, data and information management, science synthesis centers, and professional societies.

The DataONE Users Group (DUG) comprises representatives of the DataONE partnership communities. Its primary function is to represent the needs and interests of these communities in the activities of DataONE. In particular, the DUG provides guidance that facilitates DataONE in achieving its vision and mission, which are as follows:

Vision: DataONE will be commonly used by researchers, educators, and the public to better understand and conserve life on earth and the environment that sustains it.
Mission: Enable new science and knowledge creation through universal access to data about life on earth and the environment that sustains it.

DataONE will achieve its mission by: (1) engaging the relevant science, data, and policy communities; (2) providing easy, secure, and persistent storage of data; and (3) disseminating integrated and user-friendly tools for data discovery, analysis, visualization, and decision-making.

The DUG serves in an advisory capacity and is not responsible for making decisions or for implementing recommendations. Users Group responsibilities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Representing the needs and interests of the stakeholder communities;
  • Providing feedback on DataONE services;
  • Proposing and periodically reviewing DataONE policies and procedures;
  • Identifying and promoting technical and economic sustainability approaches; and
  • Maintaining effective communication and coordination among representatives of the organizations hosting Coordinating Nodes and Member Nodes and other stakeholder groups.

DataONE Users Group Membership

Members of the DUG will include representatives of the Member Nodes, Coordinating Nodes and other relevant groups (e.g. research networks, professional societies, libraries, academic institutions, data centers, data repositories, environmental observatory networks, educators, scientists, policy makers, administrators, citizen scientists, international organizations, NGOs, private companies, etc.). The DataONE Management Team -- Principal Investigator, Executive Director and Directors of Cyber Infrastructure and Community Engagement and Outreach -- will serve as ex officio (non-voting) members of the DUG.

The DUG will maintain statistics on the membership to ensure that constituents are being appropriately represented and will solicit members from relevant groups for strategic composition of the DUG. Individuals and organizations can also self-nominate to become a member of the DUG.

Members will be invited to participate in the DUG for three-year renewable terms.

Guests may be invited to attend one or more specific DUG meetings and will typically be identified by the DUG in consultation with the DataONE Leadership. Guests may include observers, consultants, advisors, or others who can contribute to and/or benefit from participation in DUG meetings.

The DUG will be led by a Chair and Vice Chair, who are members of the DUG and are elected by a vote of the DUG. An interim Chair and Vice Chair were elected at the December 2010 DUG Meeting. This interim term shall run for 8 months with an option for re-election at the 2011 DUG annual meeting. Following the interim period, the Chair and Vice-Chair shall serve a two-year term with an option to renew for an additional 12-month period. The DataONE Director for Community Engagement and Outreach will serve as Executive Secretary and will support the Chair and Vice-Chair. The existing DUG will recommend the future structure and membership of the DUG, with concurrence from DataONE Leadership.

Meetings and Communications

The DUG Chair will schedule, plan, and chair the Users Group meetings. Meeting frequency will be as is required to address relevant issues in a timely fashion (typically, once each year), in conjunction with more frequent e-mail and other communications between the DUG and DataONE Leadership. Meetings will generally be held in conjunction with a major international or other meeting (e.g. Federation of Earth Science Information Partners) and remote access will be available for virtual attendance.

The Chair will lead the Group meetings and coordinate the development of recommendations for DataONE. The Chair will be responsible for preparing formal reports and for summarizing recommendations to the DataONE Leadership with the assistance of the Executive Secretary. The Vice-Chair will serve in this capacity when the Chair is unable to fulfill this role.

The Executive Secretary will keep the DUG informed about the activities of DataONE and will communicate with the DUG, DataONE Leadership and DataONE working groups on all relevant topics and issues. There will be three primary reporting periods: (1) Following a DUG meeting, the DUG Chair shall circulate a meeting summary within 60 days. This report will contain details of recommendations made to the DataONE Leadership by the DUG. (2) A six-month report on DataONE activities, including actions taken on DUG recommendations, shall be provided to the DUG and (3) a pre-meeting status report shall be made available no less than 30 days prior to the DUG annual meeting. Interim recommendations shall be communicated from the DUG Chair to the Executive Secretary for consideration by the DataONE leadership.

Funding and Administration

Users Group coordination and communication activities will be supported through DataONE. Funding for travel to meetings, and specific activities undertaken by DUG members on behalf on DataONE may be made available by DataONE as necessary. It is intended that representatives of Member Nodes and other stakeholder groups will typically have travel covered by their home institutions.


The DUG will be implemented according to the terms and conditions outlined in this document. The DUG may convene subgroups to discuss specific technical and non-technical issues as necessary to accomplish its objectives; such subgroups will report to the full DUG at meetings and through written reports.

This document will be reviewed annually and can be modified by the Chair and Vice Chair in consultation with the DUG and DataONE Leadership as necessary.