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( FAQ )

Below are answers to the most commonly asked questions about LinkedEarth. We'll update this page as information becomes current or more issues are brought to our attention.

What is this thing?

This is a wiki, a collaborative platform to generate collective knowledge. It is associated with, and supported by, the LinkedEarth project.

How is LinkedEarth different from NCDC or PANGAEA?

LinkedEarth is funded by the US National Science Foundation's EarthCube program. We have a fundamentally different mission from memory organizations like those two. We see ourselves as a laboratory to develop new ideas (codes, data standards, infrastructure) that can then be re-used by these organizations. We have no intention of competing with these organizations regarding completeness or long-term permanence.

However, our goal is for them to consider re-using all or part of the data crowd-curation we are developing here. We have a partnership with NCDC along those lines (see this answer)

Why should I get involved? What's in it for me?

LinkedEarth is a grassroots effort, made by scientists for scientists, not for data managers. As a scientist, you have a unique opportunity to provide input into how data are curated, make collective decisions on standards adoption, and shape the future of the field.

Our social features reward active users, and we encourage you to link that profile on your CV as a form of community activity.

Most importantly, LinkedEarth serves as a homebase for a code ecosystem that will allow better querying, extraction, visualization, analysis and sharing. Once your data are in LinkedEarth they can instantly be re-used by the community, using cutting-edge tools for age modeling (and eventually, climate field reconstruction, spectral analysis, and others).

What if I don't want to share my data?

You live in the wrong century.

If you are funded by a U.S. grant, you are required to share your data by the various agencies (see this federal mandate).

What if I don't want to share my data right now?

We are exploring an embargo feature that would allow you to get your data on the wiki, use the available code and database, but keep data private until you decide they are ready to share. But that won't be implemented for some time, so if you don't want your data shared, please do not upload them. You may, however, participate in a Working Group on Data Standards.

All right, you talked me into it. How can I contribute to the wiki?

We're glad you asked! To prevent cyber-vandalism, you need to go through a short screening process that ensures that you are a card-carrying member of the scientific community. After that, you can edit pretty much any wiki page. For datasets, the uploader has primary rights over data tables: only you can change/delete the data you uploaded.

How do I upload data to the wiki?

We are working on an interactive web-based process, which is still under development (watch this space). Currently the easiest route is through LiPD. That is, if you have a file in the latest LiPD format, it can be instantly uploaded to the wiki. How do you get your data into LiPD, you ask? An Excel template, coupled with a nifty Python parser, allow to do that relatively easily. See instructions here

How do I download data from the wiki?

We have a button for that! On the top of each dataset page, you will see a "Download LiPD" button. If you feel strongly that other file formats should be supported, contact us and we'll look into it.

Say I share my data here. Do I have to put it up on NCDC as well?

We have a partnership with "NOAA Paleo" aka the NOAA-NCEI World Data Service for Paleoclimatology. Any dataset on LinkedEarth can be exported to their text file template with a wave of the proverbial wand. They will have access to your database and be able to pull from it what they deem appropriate, so putting your data here ensures that it will end up at "NOAA Paleo".

What about PANGAEA?

We do not yet have a partnership with Pangaea, though several of our datasets came from there.

Who makes decisions here?

Here is our charter. We did put some thought into it, so please read it carefully, and suggest improvements if need be.

How do I know that my voice will be listened to?

The wiki provides a way for any card-carrying paleoclimatologist to edit datasets, participate in working group discussions, and vote on data standards. We cannot promise to grant all your wishes, but if you formulate them clearly and they have substantial community support, we'll work to implement them quickly.

Sharing paleoclimate data is great; sharing personal data is not. Who can see my personal information?

The outside world only sees a barebones profile when they access your page: wiki ID, working group membership, and wiki editing privileges. The rest of your profile (picture, email, other personal info) is only visible to fellow wiki users (who by definition must have an ORCID, and have undergone a basic screening to ensure that they are a paleoclimatologist/informaticist).

It's lonely here. Can I invite friends?

Absolutely! The more people participate in this project, the better it will be for everyone else. However, usual rules of participation apply: your invitees need to be working/studying in the field of paleoclimatology, to ensure that their contributions are relevant.

I really don't get this ontology business. Do I need to know anything about that?

No, you don't. What we need from you is your expertise in the field, your willingness to curate datasets and participate in community activities like Working Groups, and as much data as your are willing to upload. If you want to be involved in the development of the ontology, fantastic. If you don't, you can still do a lot for your community in these pages.

Where do I report changes that I want to see on the wiki?

Although you don't need to know anything about the LinkedEarth Ontology, you may have suggestions on renaming terms or incorporating new terms to the wiki. Creating new terms is easy, just follow these steps. Changing existing terms can be trickier.

If the term is followed by an (L), it means that it is part of the core ontology and any changes need to go through the Editorial Board by using this form. The full procedure is described here.

For terms that are not part of core ontology, follow these guidelines on how to rename wiki pages.

Why do I get a MathML error message on some pages?

On Firefox, the code used to render math text can sometimes yield errors. This add-on should fix it.