There are a total of 25 fields (17 major categories and 7 sub-categories) with 15 that are mandatory.

The definitions of the fields on the Dataset Submission Form and any applicable specific requirements for the field entry are outlined as follows:
(* designates a mandatory field)

Section 1 of 4: Basic Information:

  • Full Title*: The complete name used to identify the dataset.
    • Maximum of 255 characters.
  • Short Name: An alternative, more concise version of the Dataset Full Title that is used to identify the dataset.
    • Maximum of 100 characters.
  • Abstract*: A summary highlighting the key characteristics/features of the dataset.  The abstract should be similar to a journal publication abstract in order to provide sufficient information to inform users if this might be a suitable resource for them.
    • One or two paragraphs.
  • Additional Description: An extended explanation of the dataset's details, such as background information, objectives, and methods.  The description should provide basic documentation that frames the context for the dataset.
    • If a more complete description is available in a separate document format, please indicate the availability of the document in the field. If the document is accessible via a URL, please provide the URL in the field.
  • Funder/Sponsor*: Individual(s) and/or organization(s) who was responsible in providing the resources, including financial, human, and infrastructural, to enable the production of the dataset.
    • Include any applicable grant number(s).
  • Creator*:
    • Principal Investigator(s)*: Primary individual(s) who was responsible for the production of the dataset. The first individual listed will be considered as the lead author in the data citation.    
      • Alternative:  An organization can be used instead of a PI, e.g. NCEP, University of Ohio, etc.
  • Affiliated Institution(s)*: Organization(s) that was associated with the principal investigator(s).
    • If more than one principal investigator and affiliated institution is provided, use corresponding numbers to identify the pairing.  
      • Example: Principal Investigators are 1-John Smith 2- Jane Doe; Affiliated Institutions are 1-University of Research; 2-Premier Data Center.  This indicates that John Smith is affiliated with University of Research and Jane Doe is affiliated with Premier Data Center.
  • User Community*: A description highlighting who are the main users of the dataset and an approximate size of that community.  This description should provide enough information to inform us about how widely-used this dataset is expected to be.
    • One or two paragraphs.

Section 2 of 4: Dataset Characteristics:

  • Spatial Coverage*:
    • Describe X and Y, and resolution (if applicable)*: Horizontal coordinates, or longitude and latitude coordinates in degrees, that are associated with the dataset.
      • For describing an area, use bounding box coordinates (Easternmost, Westernmost, Northernmost, and Southernmost).
    • Describe Z, and resolution (if applicable)*: Vertical coordinates, or altitude or elevation information.
  • Temporal Coverage*:
    • Describe start and end dates, and resolution (if applicable)*: The date range in ISO8601 format that is associated with the dataset (e.g. yyyymmdd).  For higher resolution, see
  • List the Significant/Major Parameters*: List the measurement names/types or derived parameters that are included in the dataset.
  • File Format(s)*: Description of file type(s) of the dataset, e.g. netCDF, GRIB, ASCII, etc. A community supported data format standard must followed for data to be considered for inclusion in the RDA. Please find a compiled list of accepted community data format standards at NCAR's Climate Data Guide. Nuanced formats, such as user structured ASCII, may also be accepted into the RDA when accompanied with a well described specification document.
  • Approximate Dataset Size in Megabytes, Gigabytes, or Terabytes*: 1 Kilobyte = 0.001 Megabytes; 1 Gigabyte = 1000 Megabytes; 1 Terabyte = 10^6 Megabyte.
  • Approximate Number of Data Files*:
    • If more than one file format is included in the dataset, indicate the approximate number for each file type/extension.
  • Use Restriction*: The default value is "No".
  • Did you have to go through IRB/NCAR Human Subjects Committee when developing your study?: The default value is "No". If you did go through this process, you will be ineligible to archive data in the RDA. See: UCAR Human Subjects Research for additional information.

Section 3 of 4: Contact Information:

  • Provider Contact*: The primary contact person for the dataset.  
    • If the dataset is accepted by the RDA, this individual will be responsible for coordinating and collaborating with the DECS team members during the ingest process.
    • The following information will be used by the DECS team members to contact the responsible individual to initiate the ingest process.
      • Name*, Email Address*, Phone Number
  • Primary Scientific Contact: The primary scientific/technical contact for the dataset.
    • If the dataset is accepted by the RDA, this individual will be responsible for supporting the DECS team members if any scientific/technical questions arise regarding the dataset.
    • The Dataset Contact may also be the Dataset Scientific Contact.
    • The following information will be used by the DECS team members to contact the responsible individual:
      • Name, Email Address, Phone Number

Section 4 of 4: Supporting Information:

  • Published References: Any related resources or information that are considered to be relevant or associated with the dataset.
  • How long do you expect this dataset to have impactful research value?*: Briefly describe how long you believe that this data will be of value to the research community, keeping in mind advances that could cause these data to be superseded.
  • Additional Comments: Any other information, such as availability of existing metadata record, that should be considered by the DECS team members when evaluating the dataset for ingest.

Request Submission:

The request submitter must agree to the terms and conditions of request submission and archiving data to the RDA for the request to be submitted. Once the Dataset Submission Form has been submitted, one of the following four statuses can be applied to the submission:

  • Submitted: The Form has been submitted successfully, but the assignment of a DECS dataset specialist is pending.
  • Submitted - Awaiting Decision: A DECS dataset specialist has been assigned to the Form and is currently working with the DECS team to review the dataset information provided via the Form.  The DECS dataset specialist will provide a decision as soon as the evaluation of the dataset has been completed.
  • Submitted - Additional Information Requested: The DECS team would like additional information/clarification regarding the dataset.  Please check for details and respond to the request via email.
  • Accepted: The DECS team has determined that the dataset is within the scope NCAR RDA's dataset collection and would like to extend the offer to ingest the dataset
  • Rejected: The DECS team has determined that the dataset is currently not within the scope of the NCAR RDA's dataset collection or resource capabilities and could not extend the offer to ingest the dataset.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • What do I do if I have questions about the mandatory fields on the Dataset Submission Form?
    • Contact the RDA manager (schuster AT ucar DOT edu); additional contact information can be found under the About/Contact page.
  • Can the information for the mandatory fields be changed later after the Dataset Submission Form has been submitted? 
    • Yes, if the submission is accepted for RDA archiving and access, a DECS dataset specialist will collaborate with the Dataset Contact to assure the fields are correct and follow best practices for long-term archiving.
  • How long does it take for the DECS team to reach a decision?  
    • This depends on the complexity of the dataset and completeness of the information.  Normally, one or two weeks.
  • How often would the Dataset Contact and/or the Dataset Scientific Contact need to be in communication with the DECS team during the ingest process?  
    • More frequently in the beginning, especially when the data are being check (usually a sample file or two would be reviewed) and when the metadata are received (either internal to the files or as separate documents) and being added to the RDA system.  Once to a few times a week would be typical.