Overview of Data Management and Policies
This policy is a living document that details the guiding principles and efforts made by senior Archaeometry Lab staff to promote data accessibility and scholarly reuse of data. As an NSF-supported lab, and in accordance with NSF requirements for dissemination and sharing of results (AAG VI.D.4) and data management plans (GPG II.C.2.j), the Archaeometry Laboratory recognizes an obligation to share and to maintain a formal data-management plan for data generated using NSF funding, including data generated by laboratory staff and by investigators participating in our collaborative NSF-subsidy program. Our formal position on sharing of data is in-line with obligations laid out by the Society for American Archaeology’s Principles of Archaeological Ethics and the Register of Professional Archaeologists’ Code of Conduct. That is: archaeologists are stewards of the archaeological record, and they have an ethical obligation to make their data available to other scholars within a reasonable time period. The Lab’s data management plan is intended to emphasize the importance of these obligations and to meet requirements of major funding entities such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
Position on culturally sensitive information:
Where applicable, all reasonable measures will be taken to protect against the release of culturally sensitive metadata, including geospatial data on site locations. Although the goals of this lab program are not directly pursuant to the collection of culturally sensitive or confidential knowledge, it can inadvertently occur during the research process. Any sensitive cultural or spatial information not generally intended for public consumption (typically restricted to site locations) will be protected.
Data Management and Use
Geochemical research of archaeological materials benefits greatly from the existence of comparative databases. Therefore, data generated at the Archaeometry Laboratory are retained by the laboratory and are available for comparative use in future projects at the discretion of the laboratory staff. Any use of data by the laboratory will fully acknowledge the source and contributor of these data. Should a situation arise in which a contributor’s unpublished data are to be used in a significant manner in a journal or book publication, this contributor will be viewed as a collaborator on the overall project. If this contributor declines the role as collaborator, use of these data will follow the Data Sharing guidelines below. In all cases, the role of the contributor will be fully acknowledged and the source of these data will be given.
We offer data hosting services for compositional data, both archaeological and geological, at no additional charge in order to make the data available to the broader scientific community. The myriad forms of data (e.g., spectral data files, tabulated chemical data, laboratory notes, technical reports and documents, correspondence, and publications) generated at the Archaeometry Laboratory are retained and are made available for comparative use in future projects at the discretion of the laboratory staff. The Archaeometry Lab retains all tabulated geochemical data generated at our laboratory, as well as any archaeological and contextual data provided by collaborators. Qualitative and quantitative data derived from elemental, isotopic, and molecular analyses are stored in spreadsheet and/or database formats along with digital archaeological/contextual data for each specimen. These data are archived on a locally maintained server, with nightly differential backups on a tandem server. All data stored on the server are backed up and stored off-site on a weekly basis. The costs associated with data storage and back-up are covered by general MURR operating funds and are not requested in this proposal. We offer in-house data-hosting services for data, both archaeological and geological, at no additional charge for all of our clients in order to make these data available to the broader community.
Data Sharing and Accessibility
Data produced in the course of regular lab activities generally falls under one of two categories:
1. Projects proposed by external PIs
Individual project PIs who are provided support through the Lab’s NSF-subsidy program are the primary party responsible for dissemination of the data produced in the course of their research. Collaboration with the Archaeometry Laboratory under our NSF-subsidy program involves a mutual agreement between the lab and the PI of a moving two-year window for public dissemination of results in a book, journal, online resource, thesis, dissertation, or other format to be made accessible to the archaeological community. Generally, two years after data reporting, the Archaeometry Laboratory will provide access to those data via its data-download Web portal or similar data-sharing repository. As is current standard practice, PIs are strongly encouraged to publish all original data through Supplementary Information accompanying all published manuscripts. We encourage PIs to consider submitting datasets and/or publications under appropriate Creative Commons non-commercial licensing, open access or “green” open access options through journal publishers, or preprint or similar data repositories (e.g. SocArXIV Papers, Figshare, Zenodo, tDAR, etc.) to increase accessibility. Where relevant, we also encourage PIs to help promote positive perceptions of archaeology to non-scholarly audiences by preparing outreach materials aimed toward the general public or plain-language reports for Indigenous/descendant communities in their region of research. If additional time is required at the end of the two-year period, the PI may solicit an extension by submitting a short (one-page) progress report for review by our NSF-subsidy program review committee. In the event that the committee finds that no progress has been made or that the project has been abandoned during the previous two-year window, the Archaeometry Laboratory reserves the right to post the data in question on our website. Investigators not participating in our NSF-subsidy program are strongly encouraged to participate in the same data-sharing agreement, although PIs have the option of specifying a suitable timeframe for posting of data at the outset of a project.
2. Projects initiated internally by senior Archaeometry Lab staff
Senior Archaeometry Lab staff dedicate a portion of their time to advancing in-house methodological procedures and their own independent projects. These efforts are driven by the motivation to create and promote new benchmarks for disciplinary standards and to enable scholarly reuse of data. On an ongoing basis, we develop new or optimize existing analytical protocols, re-analyze reference materials, implement new reference libraries and source databases, and pursue the acquisition of research materials to build out existing databases where deemed relevant. This includes routine maintenance of existing databases (e.g. checking and back-populating older archives for completeness and effective reuse), as well as developing, delivering, and sharing workshops and teaching resources. This also includes creating, evaluating, and maintaining open-source calibration materials, examples of which include obsidian and clay calibrations for pXRF, and custom Raman/IR reference libraries for archaeologically-relevant materials. The latter example includes Raman/IR reference libraries for pigments, glazes, clays, lithics, which are currently under development with the recent acquisition of new Raman instrumentation. The outputs of these efforts are promoted and made available to collaborators through published datasets and written protocols, sharing of prepared specimens (e.g. obsidian source samples, powdered and pressed clay and mineral planchettes, etc.), and guided support for creating customized instrument calibrations.
Storage and Use of Archived Specimens
Archived specimens, unless explicitly requested to be destroyed or to be returned to the PI, will be maintained by the Archaeometry Laboratory and made available for future research. In most instances this refers to small amounts of prepared ceramic powders or lithic flakes (< 100 mg) that are retained in the event that re-analysis of a specimen is needed. Archival specimens are viewed as data in this context, and are subject to identical policies for the compositional data as outlined above.