GERM Data and Metadata
On this page we provide a platform for discussing metadata and data publication formats in geochemistry.

During the 2001 GERM Workshop in La Jolla the geochemistry community discussed the need for establishing metadata standards in geochemistry and this page continues this discussion. Read about the first-order problems in our current data and metadata publication in a recent G-cubed editorial published by the GERM Steering Committee. The database working group (established during the 2001 GERM Workshop) has put together a proposal for Metadata Standard in Geochemistry by Staudigel et al. which forms the basis for another proposal on a Scalable Geochemical Data Sharing Model and the .mif Metadata Interchange Format by Helly et al.

Electronic data publication in geochemistry: A plea for "full disclosure"
Computer technology and automated analytical instruments have resulted in an explosion in the quantity of geochemical data produced over the past several decades. While this is an extremely positive development for science, it has had the unfortunate effects of diminishing the value of individual analyses and has created a reluctance on the part of authors, editors, and publishers to publish data. Data, it seems, like much of the rest of what our society produces, have become disposable. After a short appearance in glossy illustrations, the fate of analytical results is to be buried, if not in landfills, then at least on shelves in investigators' offices.
Electronic data publication in geochemistry
Many disciplines of geochemistry have no data reporting standards and their use of metadata is inadequately developed. This presents problems to the quality of the published science, and it limits the utility of computers in data analysis and the exploitation of Information Technology (IT). We discuss problems of data and metadata publication, in particular for geochemistry, and offer solutions to these problems in the form of consistent data publication formats and a proposal for publication of metadata in geochemistry. Metadata are grouped according to types (location, sampling, characterization) and this grouping allows for the transfer of these formats to other Earth science disciplines. In a companion paper (Helly et al. 2003) we illustrate how these metadata groupings can be used in an IT context. Formats presented here are comprehensive and allow for modification and expansion. It is the hope of the authors that this paper initiates a constructive discussion of data formats and metadata in geochemistry.
Scalable models of data sharing in Earth sciences
Many Earth science disciplines are currently experiencing the emergence of new ways of data publication and the establishment of an information technology infrastructure for data archiving and exchange. Building on efforts to standardize data and metadata publication in geochemistry (Staudigel et al. 2003) we are discussing options for data publication, archiving and exchange. All of these options have to be structured to meet some minimum requirements of scholarly publication, in particular reliability of archival, reproducibility and falsifiability. All data publication and archival methods should strive to produce data bases that are fully interoperable which requires an appropriate data and metadata interchange protocol. To accomplish the latter we propose a new Metadata Interchange Format (.mif) that can be used for more effective sharing of data and metadata across digital libraries, data archives and research projects. This is not a proposal for a particular set of metadata parameters but rather of a methodology that will enable them to be easily developed and interchanged between research organizations. Examples are provided for geochemical data as well as map images to illustrate the flexibility of the approach.