Data Management Policy

This document outlines the policy for data and data management for all forms of data acquired by and available through the MNF. This document is currently under review.

Download the policy

This policy is available for download - Data Management Policy

1. Purpose

This document articulates the Marine National Facility (MNF) Policy relating to data management. It outlines data management requirements for data arising from MNF Granted Voyages (GV) as well as the requirements for User-Funded Voyages (UFV) where other specific arrangements have not been agreed. The document outlines the policy for data and data management for all forms of data acquired by and available through the MNF.

2. Marine National Facility (MNF)

Funded by the Australian Government since 1984 and overseen by an independent Steering Committee, the MNF forms a keystone of the national research infrastructure by providing merit based access to a blue-water research capability to Australian marine scientists and their international collaborators for work in Australia’s vast marine estate. This capability includes a repository of more than 30 years of marine data, used to provide key information for evidence based decision making supporting sustainable development.

3. Application of this Policy

In accordance with the MNF Principles of Access policy, sea time on Investigator can be accessed through the MNF process of Granted Voyages (GV) or, outside of the funding allocated by the Australian Government, as User-Funded Voyages (UFV). GV are expected to comply in full with the requirements of this policy. For UFV, any variations will be considered as part of the pricing model.

4. The Australian Government Public Data Policy

The Australian Government Public Data Policy Statement (7th December 2015) states in part that Australian Government entities will:

  • Make non-sensitive data open by default to contribute to greater innovation and productivity improvements across all sectors of the Australian economy;
  • Make high-value data available for use by the public, industry and academia, in a manner that is enduring and frequently updated using high-quality standards; and

Where possible, ensure non-sensitive publicly funded research data is made open for use and reuse.

More details on the Australian Government Public Data Policy can be found at:

The MNF complies with the Australian Government Public Data Policy by ensuring that data acquired through the MNF is publicly available and accessible to the research community.

5. MNF Data Policy

Data acquired on board the vessel can be separated into three categories:
(i) data acquired by instruments managed by the MNF,
(ii) data acquired by instruments brought on board by scientists, and
(iii) physical samples collected at sea.

All scientific data collected on Investigator’s research and transit voyages supported must be made publicly available by the Principal Investigator(s) as soon as possible and at least within 12 months of the completion of each voyage, whether the data has been acquired by MNF-supplied or user-supplied instruments. These data must include data formats and metadata compliant with the Marine Community Profile (MCP) of the ISO 19115 standard and be made available through approved data repositories. Previous data publishing compliance is included in the evaluation of MNF applications for sea time.

Under exceptional circumstances, the MNF Steering Committee will consider a GV Chief Scientist’s or Lead Principal Investigator’s request to embargo data for a period of up to two years; however such requests will require a compelling case and must be requested in the GV application. UFV proponents must also articulate requests for exemptions upon application.

Samples acquired on MNF voyages which can be curated must be stored so that they are accessible to other researchers.
All voyage data and samples, including any Intellectual Property Rights embodied therein, will be owned by the MNF. The Voyage Agreement signed by organisations accepting sea time also grants the organisation a non-exclusive, royalty free, perpetual, irrevocable licence to use voyage data and samples relating to their projects for any purpose.

6. Putting the MNF Data Policy into practice

6.1. Data management

Voyage proposals must include a summary of how data acquired from the voyage will be managed. This will include a summary of where the MNF and science party-acquired data will be stored and identifies parties responsible for non-MNF data. All MNF data will be managed according to Policy.
The voyage agreement must include a mature plan for managing data and samples from the voyage, including a summary of where the data and samples will be archived and when they will be made available.

6.2. Samples

Samples acquired on MNF voyages which can be curated must be stored in a way which makes them accessible to other researchers. Where a national repository exists, samples should be lodged there within 12 months of voyage completion. If there is no suitable repository, samples may be curated by the Chief Scientist’s host organisation for at least seven years after the completion of the voyage and made available on request.

6.3. MNF equipment

All raw and processed data acquired by MNF equipment on MNF voyages will be archived by MNF data support staff in the enduring CSIRO Data Access Portal, Metadata records will be made publicly available at Processed data and data products will be made publicly available through Data Trawler, the MNF web data access tool, and/or from national or world data centres most suitable for the dissemination of particular data types.

6.4. User supplied equipment

Data acquired with user-supplied equipment on MNF Granted Voyages must also be managed in compliance with the MNF Data Management Policy.
All raw data and other material collected or worked upon by researchers on board is to be suitably described and included in the voyage record. Metadata records and raw or processed data are to be made available on the ship network for backup and to be included in the End of Voyage Archive.
Raw data must be provided to the MNF for archiving if it is not archived in a domain-specific international repository. The data must be made publicly available as soon as possible following a voyage and at most within 12 months of voyage completion.

6.5. Archival data

The MNF holds more than 30 years of marine science data. This data is openly available to researchers. Data acquired on MNF voyages will be included in the MNF data archive as soon as it has passed quality control processing and is ready to be made publicly available.

6.6. Research publications and acknowledgements

Records of publications and information products arising from MNF Voyages should be supplied to the MNF in an appropriate format as soon as possible after completion.
The MNF must be acknowledged in all research publications derived from research performed and data collected on the MNF with the following statement:

"The Authors wish to thank the CSIRO Marine National Facility (MNF) for its support in the form of sea time on RV Investigator, support personnel, scientific equipment and data management. All data and samples acquired on the voyage are made publicly available in accordance with MNF Policy."