Contribute data to BioTIME

The database is only possible because of our collaboration with data contributors. Add your dataset to BioTIME.

Download contribution form (xlsx) ↓   Contact us

Does your dataset...

  • Collect data over at least 2 years
  • Survey an assemblage (and not targeted species)
  • Use the same sampling methodology throughout time
  • Identify more than half of organisms to species-level or current best taxonomic resolution
Get in touch if you think it does or fulfills most of them! We know data is messy by nature and can work with you.
Contributors are at the core of our database. The current version of BioTIME was made possible by 300+ contributors, data collectors, etc. We know that fieldwork and data collection is incredibly hard work, so here is some information about the data contribution process, our dataset criteria, and how your data will be treated.

If you are new to releasing your data publicly, we also have some information about how usage and sharing is done responsibly

We work closely with data authors and contributors to ensure that raw data records and metadata are correctly represented. Here is an overview of how our data managers will handle and process your dataset.

1. Complete the contribution form

Please download and complete the contribution form (it's an Excel spreadsheet). It helps us construct the metadata records for your dataset and contains guidance. This is also where you'll choose the open access licence for your data. See below if you're unsure. The form is all that you need to complete, but we include our database table structure with your values if you're curious.
Download contribution form (xlsx) ↓

2. Send us your files

Email us the completed contributor form with your data files. Please make sure that you send us information pertaining to abundance/biomass measurements, taxonomic records (e.g. keys for species codes used), and site/sampling event information. We do construct sampling event IDs based on dates and locations, which is important if not all sites are sampled equally through time.
* Alternatively, you can format the data yourself when you send us the form.

3. Data standardisation

One of the data managers on our team will get back to you and work with your dataset. We'll let you know if we're missing anything. We go through a standardisation and data check process to fit your dataset to the BioTIME format.

4. Author confirmation

Once we've formatted your dataset, we'll send you the full dataset record that will look like the contribution form for a final confirmation. And that's it!

What we do with your data

Data formatting and standardisation is our way of conducting quality control so that datasets are ready to be used in analyses by our users. Here are some examples of the checks we do:
  • Check for non-real values in abundances, biomass, dates, etc.
  • Check for sampling effort consistency
  • Coordinate check and reprojection (we use WGS84)
  • Taxonomic spell checks and validation
  • Remove sub-species groupings/records and aggregate (meaning we'll pool records together without varieties, sub-species, life stage, sex, etc.)
  • Construct sampling event IDs that match your reported methods

If you want to know how your data will be used, please look at the usage guidelines we give our data users about proper attribution and complying with open access licences

Data usage guidelines →

Open access licences

Licences may sound like we are making people pay for data, but we are not! It's basically a set of legal terms and conditions that the data authors set when publishing data publicly, open access on the Internet. It can be the wild west, so licences ensure that data users can modify and share the data but within reasonable bounds. If you have additional conditions, please let one of our data managers know.
BioTIME supports most standard open access licences, such as Public domain, MIT, Open Government, Creative Commons, and Open Data Commons licences. People before us have established some legal standards already so we don't have to replicate it from scratch. However, we do ask that data authors not choose overly restrictive licences, such as Creative Commons non-derivative licences (which doesn't allow for modified use).
The open access licence is ultimately your choice to make. Here are some of our summaries from us to help you find the licence that suits your team best.

Creative Commons Licences

CC0: Public domain

Also known as a "no rights reserved" licence. There are no copyrights, patents, or warranties associated with this type of licence, essential there are no limits to how this work can be used and is part of the public domain.
Official summary and licence ↗

CC-by: Attribution

Sharing and adaptations are allowed given that the original authors/contributors are given proper attribution and credit. Commercial use is allowed as well.
Official summary and licence ↗

CC-by-SA: Attribution and share-alike

Similar to the CC-by licence with an additional stipulation that you must distribute your contributions to this data under the same licence. Essentially, contributors ask that you keep work open-access.
Official summary and licence ↗

Open Licences for Databases

PDDL: Public domain

There are no restrictions on how data can be used with this licence. Similar to CC0 above.
Official summary and licence ↗

ODC-by: Attribution

You're allowed to share, adapt, and create works from data, as long as you attribute the original authors and contributors and outline the changes you've made.
Official summary and licence ↗

ODbL: Attribution and share-alike

Also similar to ODC-by above with an additional condition that distribution of your work stemming from this data is shared under an ODbL licence and kept open-access as well.
Official summary and licence ↗