Instructions

We compiled this set of model data archiving guidelines from a review of existing model archiving practices and also input from land modelers. Based on the information we collected, we provide a set of guidelines that can help modelers decide how to organize and archive data from their land model simulations.
We have organized the instructions into three sections.
  1. 1.
    ​Model data archiving guidelines: Guidelines for organizing model data files
  2. 2.
    ​Deciding how to bundle files: A decision tree to help users decide how to group files for archive
  3. 3.
    ​File-level metadata: A deeper look at one component of the model data guidelines
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1. Model data archiving guidelines

  1. 1.
    Metadata – This refers to pertinent information about data and code archived (e.g., abstract, geographical and temporal extents), as well as description of the files being archived with links to other DOI-issued publications within the entire simulation workflow, as applicable.
  2. 2.
    Required Data Files – Archived datasets should specify or include model inputs, outputs, code, and scripts depending on whether the data are published elsewhere or exceed repository dataset size limits. File names should be unique and can use an intuitive file naming nomenclature to help with discoverability. File names should only contain letters, numbers, hyphens, and underscores, should not contain spaces, and should not rely on case-sensitive file systems.
    1. 1.
      Model Inputs – Input files should be included unless publicly available elsewhere, in which case a hyperlink to the specific input files (e.g., climate forcings, meshes, soil parameterizations) should be provided in the metadata and user guide. Use open-sourced formats such as comma separated value (.csv) or NetCDF (.nc) formats where possible.
    2. 2.
      Model Outputs- Archive all model outputs if the size of the data files are within the repository storage limitations. This output should include the raw and post-processed data, and if associated with a scientific publication the data that support the main findings, tables, and figures. If the size of the model output exceeds repository storage limitations, evaluate recommendations based on the decision tree (Figure 2 in associated manuscript and pictured below) on which data to publish. Use open-sourced formats such as comma separated value (.csv) or NetCDF (.nc) formats where possible.
    3. 3.
      Model Code – Include source code(s) used to generate results in paper unless the code is publicly available elsewhere (e.g., GitHub or Zenodo), in which case include specific version, hash information, or citation allowing the exact source code to be recovered. Include links to any external model codes in the metadata and user guide. If published on GitHub, provide the commit hash associated with the specific version. If available, include a reference (with DOI) to the tagged release in an established data repository.
    4. 4.
      Scripts – Include run scripts if they are necessary for running the model to generate published results. Optionally also include scripts necessary for reproducing the parameters and model configuration for the simulations and input files, for post-processing model outputs to produce the results (e.g., tables and figures in a publication), and for executing the entire workflow used to generate the model results.
  3. 3.
    Optional Files –
    1. 1.
      *File-level metadata (FLMD) – Include descriptions of all the data files as one file catalog (e.g., by using the file-level metadata reporting format. Optionally also include one data dictionary for each file type within the data publication describing columns and variables.
    2. 2.
      Model Testing Data - Include data files of observations from each location simulated to produce the results in the paper in an open source format (e.g., CSV). If the data are publicly available in another repository, include a reference (with DOI) in the metadata and user guide.
    3. 3.
      Documentation or user guide - Include a readme file (e.g., pdf) for each site-specific or large-scale simulation and provide details on the model name and version number, and required data or code dependencies. Also include a citation for the model code and licensing information if applicable.
  4. 4.
    Use in publications - If publishing model results, cite and include links to the data and code publication(s) in the Data or Code Availability section. Include the citations of the dataset and code publication(s) with DOI(s) in the references section. Examples of Data or Code Availability statements associated with the journal articles researched in this study are provided in Supplemental Table 1 of the associated manuscript.
​

2. Deciding how to bundle files

The decision tree below provides suggestions for which files to archive, and when to submit data to a public archive using the following considerations:
  • Repository storage limitations
  • Authorship
  • Downstream value
Decision tree that can help users decide whic files to bundle together and archive for their models
​

3. File-Level Metadata

We suggest researchers archiving model data include 2 types of file-level metadata. For more details see ESS-DIVE File-level Metadata. Note that one possible option is to use ncdump to create a metadata CSV file for NetCDF and HDF5 files.
Diagram showing the different components of file-level metadata that can be uploaded as part of a complete data package
¹ For more details on how to provide file-level metadata see here ² Details for the CSV reporting format ³ Report the Local Standard Time offset (+/- #hours) or time zone (abbreviations allowed). Do not report time using Daylight Savings Time ⁴ yyyy-mm-dd ⁵ If providing a non-point location (WGS84 decimal degrees) ⁶ If providing a single point location (WGS84 decimal degrees) ⁷ For columns containing numeric data, use "-9999" as the missing value code (or modify to match significant figures given the data). For columns containing character data, use "N/A" as the missing value code. ⁸ Orientation of the "Field Name" within the data matrix of the data file: 1) Horizontal with field names at the top of columns (i.e., column name) or 2) Vertical with field names starting rows (i.e., row name).
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