Protocol of the European Pollen Database

The following protocol for the EPD was agreed by the participants of the 2016 open EPD meeting in Aix en Provence.

A. Administrative Structure

The EPD Board consists of an elected chairperson, vice-chairperson, the spokespersons of the EPD Support Groups, and the EPD database manager. The EPD chairperson co-ordinates the Support Group activity and represents the EPD. The chairperson and vice-chairperson are elected by EPD contributors and scientists having a bona fide interest in the EPD, who must register in advance with the database manager. Nominees for the office of EPD chairperson need to be proposed before the elections by a proposer and seconder. The term of office is normally 4 years but the term is at the discretion of the board. The EPD Support Groups support the database manager. The spokespersons of the Support Groups are chosen by the groups themselves. Interested scientists are encouraged to join the Support Groups.

B. Data

1. Data must consist of the original counts, not percentages. Estimates of counts from digitized data will be accepted and marked as such if the original counts are not available.

2. The database must contain the original taxonomic identifications, with exceptions of exact nomenclatural synonymy. As primary entries, taxa will not be lumped into higher taxonomic groups in the database. For practical reasons, higher-level hierarchies will exist within the database in two ways; the first will be according to pollen morphology, the second according to plant taxonomy.

3. Data will be classified as restricted or unrestricted. All data will be available in the EPD, although restricted data can be used only as provided below.

4. Unrestricted data are available for all uses, and are included in the EPD on various electronic sites.

5. Restricted data may be used only by permission of the data originator. Appropriate and ethical use of restricted data is the responsibility of the data user.

6. Restrictions on data will expire two years after they are submitted to the EPD, unless data owners request an extension. Up to three two-year extensions can be requested.

C. Contributors

1. Can declare data unrestricted or restricted, but are strongly encouraged to provide data in unrestricted form so as to allow widespread use.

2. Can ask to verify that data in the database are correct. In cases where the central database manually enter the pollen counts, the database should routinely return to the data originator a copy of the data, as they are entered in the database, for optional verification by the originator.

3. May use any unrestricted data.

4. Can obtain copies of application software and the database itself for use on his/her own computer.

5. Can ask at any time that his/her restricted data be withdrawn from the database or that their status be changed to unrestricted.

6. May, by so informing the EPD, extend the restricted status of a data set after the standard three years.

7. In the case of a dispute regarding inappropriate use of restricted data, the EPD Board will serve as arbitrator.

D. Users

Normal ethics apply to co-authorship of scientific publications. Palaeoecological datasets are labour-intensive and complex: they take years to generate and may have additional attributes and metadata not captured in the EPD. Users of data stored in the EPD should consider inviting the original data contributor of any resultant publications if that contributor’s data are a major portion of the dataset analysed, or if a data contributor makes a significant contribution to the analysis of the data or to the interpretation of results. For large-scale studies using many EPD records, contacting all contributors or making them co-authors will not be practical, possible, or reasonable. Under no circumstance should authorship be attributed to data contributors, individually or collectively, without their explicit consent. In all cases, any use of EPD data should include the following or similar text in their acknowledgments: Pollen data were extracted from the European Pollen Database (EPD; and the work of the data contributors and the EPD community is gratefully acknowledged. Upon publication, please send to the EPD a copy of the published work or a link to the electronic resource. Your assistance helps document the usage of the database.

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