MarBEF Data System

MarBEF Data Policy

The first guiding principle within the MarBEF network is the principle of free and open access to data in a partnership approach. This is in line with data policy of other major organisations like the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), with the Conference statement of the Ocean Biodiversity Informatics conference held in Hamburg, 2004-11-29 till 2004-12-1, and with Paragraph II.34 of Annex II - General Conditions of the MarBEF contract.

A second guiding principle is that the scientist or team generating the data should have an opportunity to have first publication of the data, and analysis based on them. This will normally imply a moratorium period, in which the originator of the data or data steward will have privileged or exclusive access to the data. The start of the moratorium period is the time that data was produced (e.g. laboratory analysis, species identifications), not when the samples were taken. The moratorium period is two years for scientific data, but can be longer for long time series.

Last but not least, the data policy of the originator of the data will take precedence over data policy of MarBEF. MarBEF does not claim ownership of the data, only the participating institutes/organisations and/or the funder of the data collection will do this. Providers may decide to withdraw their data from the MarBEF portal if they wish.


In order to minimise probability of data loss, MarBEF partners are urged to submit datasets (electronic and paper) for archiving in a recognised data centre for long-term preservation of the dataset as soon as data becomes available. Archiving does not imply immediate redistribution. No archived dataset will leave the repository unless specific permission of the data originator has been obtained. Data submitted for archiving will not be edited or quality controlled by the data centre, except for checks on the formal consistency of data (e.g. db and/or file integrity). All archived datasets have to be documented properly, and documentation archived together with the dataset. Also contextual data (physical oceanography, meteorology…) should be archived together with the primary (biodiversity) data.

Metadata are always freely accessible, without restrictions. Archiving results usually in the creation of a metadata record, which will be made available, inter alia, online through the MarBEF metadata search screen. Metadata include taxonomic, geographic and temporal scope, data ownership/stewardship and conditions of access, and a description of 'fitness for use' of the data. A format for metadata, compatible with international standards for taxonomic and georeferenced datasets, is available.

All the sources of data in the MarBEF databases available on line will be acknowledged, on the level of the individual record in the MarBEF database. If the data source for MarBEF is in itself a data compilation, preference is given to a data source as close as possible to the data originator to be listed as data source in MarBEF. A statement of 'proper use' for data available through the MarBEF website is posted; visitors to the website are requested to confirm that they have read and agree with the proper use statement before they are given access to the data. The proper use statement requires the MarBEF databases to be cited in papers that make use of data harvested through the MarBEF website, and to cite individual datasets constituting the MarBEF databases in case these individual datasets form an essential part of the data used in the publication.

This data policy may be revised as required, in collaboration with the MarBEF partners and data contributors.

MarBEF Data - Terms of use

By downloading or consulting data from this website, the visitor acknowledges that he/she agrees with the MarBEF data policy, and agrees to the following:
  • If data are extracted from the MarBEF website for secondary analysis resulting in a publication, the MarBEF website should be cited. Online MarBEF databases should be cited as follows:
    • MarBEF (2004). European Marine Biodiversity Gazetteer. Available online at Consulted on 2023-12-08.
    • MarBEF (2004). European Marine Biodiversity Research Sites. Available online at Consulted on 2023-12-08.
    • MarBEF (2004). European Marine Biodiversity Datasets. Available online at Consulted on 2023-12-08.
    • Costello, M.J.; Bouchet, P.; Boxshall, G.; Arvantidis, C.; Appeltans, W. (2008). European Register of Marine Species. Consulted on 2023-12-08
      [previously: Costello, M.J.; Bouchet, P.; Boxshall, G.; Emblow, C.; Vanden Berghe, E. (2004). European Register of Marine Species. Available online at Consulted on date].
    • MarBEF (2004). European node of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Available online at Consulted on 2023-12-08.
  • If any individual datasource of MarBEF constitutes a significant proportion of the records used in the secondary analysis (e.g., more than 10% of the data are derived from this source), the individual data source should also be cited.
  • If any individual datasource of MarBEF constitutes a substantial proportion of the records used in the secondary analysis (i.e. more than 25% of the data are derived from this source, or the data are essential to arrive at the conclusion of the analysis), the manager/custodian of this dataset should be contacted. It may be useful to contact the data source directly in case there are additional data that may strengthen the analysis or there are features of the data that are important to consider but may not have been apparent from the metadata.
  • Exceptions are for ERMS data which fall under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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page last modified: 2008-05-29 13:14:22 GMT+1