Appropriate behavior when contributing and using PIC data

Establishing the Framework for the Long-term Stewardship of Polar Data and Information

Data and information about the polar regions gain value when understood in the context of the vast amount of polar data and information already collected. The Polar Information Commons (PIC) provides a collective resource to contributors and users to facilitate discovery, understanding, and collaboration across disciplines and generations.


To make the ‘commons’ aspect of PIC work, contributors to and users of the PIC need to comply with a set of guidelines or “norms” of behavior. These norms recognize that individuals and organizations contribute to science and to the collective wellbeing of humanity by making digital content available through the PIC with minimal or no restrictions. The norms assure users of the PIC that contributors have provided, to the best of their ability, high quality data, information, and other digital resources about the polar regions, accurately described according to agreed standards. Importantly PIC contributors can expect that data users will acknowledge them as the source of applied PIC data in subsequent publications and reports. Because individuals and institutions will both contribute to and draw from the PIC, members of the PIC community have a strong incentive to ensure adherence to community norms. The "norms" outlined below refer mainly to data derived entirely, or substantively from PIC materials, however, where appropriate, data generated from non PIC materials may also be covered by these practises.


These initial norms will evolve in response to community needs. By setting clear expectations for behavior, the PIC community will ensure that the PIC becomes increasingly effective for collaboration and research.


Users of polar data, information, and other digital materials (“PIC users”)

  • Formal scientific publication citation is desired and PIC users acknowledge authorship and co-authorship of materials that are used from PIC.

  • PIC users agree that they will also give appropriate recognition to the role of the PIC as a digital community resource.

  • PIC users agree that they will make reasonable and timely efforts to notify relevant PIC contributors about their intended use of specific digital materials, offering where appropriate collaborative opportunities.

  • PIC users will notify contributors (or the PIC community more generally) about any suspected significant errors, limitations, or other problems that they may discover in the course of using PIC materials.

  • PIC users acknowledge that they themselves are responsible for determining whether the PIC materials they use are of sufficient quality and appropriateness for their objectives. The PIC badge is not a certification of quality.

  • PIC users agree that in all cases they will contribute back to the PIC any value-added data, information, or other digital content derived entirely or largely from PIC materials, with appropriate citation of and documentation about PIC and non-PIC inputs.

Contributors of polar data, information, and other digital content (“PIC contributors”)

  • PIC contributors acknowledge that their submitted materials are already in the public domain, or that they have clear rights to make these materials openly accessible through the PIC.

  • PIC contributors agree to label their contributions digitally with the “PIC badge,” which specifies rights of access and links back to this statement of norms, and agree to make these contributions accessible and searchable online.

  • PIC contributors agree to provide documented information about their contributed materials which describes the quality and lineage of these materials sufficient to permit their re-use.

  • PIC contributors agree that they will make reasonable efforts to provide appropriate notification to the PIC community (e.g., through PIC interfaces) of any significant errors in their contributed materials or descriptions, if any are discovered after submission.

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