Additional Data Policy Information

Ethical Obligation

In the case of data from a specific experiment or instrument system owned and managed by an identified principal investigator (PI), we endorse the ethical obligation for potential data users to contact the responsible PI prior to preparing publications and, where appropriate, to offer co-authorship. It is especially important that PI's and potential users make contact earlier if there is any indication that a graduate student is working with the data for inclusion in a thesis. Please contact us for further questions.

Login requirements

Some data access tools and services require registration and log in, in order for us to

  • Help if we notice data access difficulties or failures,
  • Assist users to custom make tools, save settings, plots, data and code,
  • Automatically track usage statistics as required by our funding agencies,
  • Allow us to contact users regarding data quality and control issues, including re-calibration,
  • Allow users to generate tokens to use web services,
  • Allow users to share project ideas or do other social networking in the spaces we provide.

Note that

  • We DON'T SPAM;
  • We will NOT use or provide any personal data to individuals or organizations outside Ocean Networks Canada.

Real-time aspect

Ocean Networks Canada provides data in near real time. For observatory systems, the most recent observation is the latest record. Depending on the measurement technique and latency of any transmission, the latest record may be available within seconds to minutes.

Exceptions are:

  • Some complex data are only ingested once a day and therefore may experience a delay of up to 24 hours;
  • Non-network data from autonomous instruments, cruises or from analysis of physical samples will be ingested into the data base as they become available;
  • Seismic and hydrophone data are subject to screening by the Canadian and US navies for national security reasons and may be diverted prior to archiving. Most diverted data are later returned.

Data quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC)

Ocean Networks Canada aims at the highest standards of data QA/QC testing and reporting. However, some limitations exist as a result of

  • The requirement to stream and make available in near real-time,
  • The complexity and variety of certain sensors,
  • The complexity and variety of natural environments.

Please contact us if you have noticed and would like to report any irregularities or poor data quality.


Ocean Networks Canada keeps and provides metadata on ALL aspects of the data, including instrument details, configurations, calibrations,  deployment locations, quality status and associated Principal Investigators. These metadata are available on our system and are provided with any downloaded data product (see Metadata Data Products page for details).

We follow the Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) international metadata standards.

Explicit citation references may be included in the metadata to facilitate accurate identification of the data received from Ocean Networks Canada.

We require that instrument manufacturers make available all metadata on data quality, calibrations or assessment software in addition to information on the instrument itself and data collection settings.

We also require PI's who are leading experiments or instrument deployments to agree to be publicly identifiable.

Instrument configuration

Instrument location and acquisition mode are usually determined by the PI to ensure best experimental results. Configuration changes can be made to optimize for other experiments. Please contact us or contact the PI if you want to request a configuration change.

Physical samples

Please contact us if you require physical samples (e.g. for chemical, physical, or taxonomic analyses).

Limited physical samples can be taken either from networked instruments or during maintenance cruises.

Analyses plans and procedures are to be reported to Ocean Networks Canada, analyses to be carried out within 1 year of collection, and the analyzed data to be made available to Ocean Networks Canada within 60 days of the analysis.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

[Drafted by Martin Scherwath, edited by Ken Denman, Kate Moran and Richard Dewey]