Investigator Toolkit

The Investigator Toolkit is a collection of software tools for finding, using, and contributing data in DataONE. Some of these tools have been custom written for DataONE, some are existing tools that have been modified to use the DataONE Application Programming Interface (API), and some are tools that have well defined interfaces of their own which can be called by DataONE tools. The current Investigator Toolkit includes:

DataONE Search

DataONE Search is a web based application and the primary software tool to discover data and metadata contained within the DataONE network of repositories (Member Nodes). DataONE Search is a customized implementation of the open source MetacatUI search application (, developed at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis.


DataONE is a contributing partner of the Data Management Planning Tool (DMPTool), a service of the UC Curation Center. The DMPTool is a means for researchers to develop practical data management plans consistent with agency requirements and available resources. For further information see the 90-second demonstration video and the Quick Start Guide provided on the DMPTool site.

Zotero, Mendeley, and other COINS-enabled bibliographic tools

DataONE includes Complex Objects in Spans (COinS) tags in search results as a means to simplify loading data set bibliographic citation information into bibliographic database tools. DataONE encourages the use of data citations, and making it easier to get bibliographic data for data sets into commonly used tools is one step in that direction.


Dash is a University of California service that has been adapted to connect to the DataONE ONEShare Member Node. DataONE Dash is a free web based application that allows researchers to easily describe, deposit and share their research data publicly. Any dataset type can be deposited and users are able to log in with their Google ID. Much of this functionality was shared with DataUp, an excel based tool, and DataUp and Dash have merged to enable better support for users.

ONER (DataONE R Client)

R is an open source software environment for statistical computing and graphics, available for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. The DataONE R Client provides the ability to access open ecological, environmental, and earth science data from the DataONE network of repositories, and to save data from within R to DataONE repositories that support write access. Because data are accessed via their published, unique identifiers (rather than a local file path), R scripts can be written to be portable across different users, and thus can be more effectively published themselves. Details, downloads, and documentation can be found here.


Several current and planned DataONE member nodes are built using the Metacat software stack. Morpho is an open source metadata editor for Ecological Metadata Language (EML). Morpho can currently be used to submit data and metadata to a Member Node which runs Metacat, using the Metacat interfaces in Morpho. Future releases will enable additional DataONE functionality and enable metadata submission to other types of Member Nodes.

Workflow tools

Workflow tools are an important part of doing science moving forward. DataONE has been collaborating with Kepler and VisTrails, and we are very interested in working with other workflow projects.


ONEMercury is a web-based tool for searching data held by DataONE member nodes. It is based on the Mercury toolset developed under funding from NASA, DOE, and USGS. ONEMercury also incorporates Complex Objects in Spans (COinS) tags, to enable loading search results into bibliographic tools such as Zotero and Mendeley.

The following tools are in development and will be released after further development and testing.


ONEDrive is being developed to allow users and developers to access DataONE content like a remote file system. Both Mac and Windows clients are under development.

In addition, DataONE is working with or is interested in working with other projects to expand the range of tools that can be used to work with DataONE. Contact the developers for further information on status or if you are interested in helping with working on these potential Investigator Toolkit pieces. Feedback from the DataONE Users Group prioritized the use of DataONE staff for development of these, and other, Investigator Toolkit elements.


Matlab is a widely used commercial software tool for data analysis and graphing. DataONE is interested in software contributions of a Matlab extension, similar to the ONER library, which would enable read and write of data from Matlab.


GNU Octave is an open source interpreted language primarily intended for numerical computations. DataONE is interested in software contributions, similar to the ONE-R library, which would enable read and write of data from Octave.

Open Source spreadsheets

While tools such as and LibreOffice are not as widely used in the scientific community as commercial tools, we are interested in ways of enabling these tools to work directly with DataONE and supporting good data management practices.