Submitting data to BODC

Water sample data submission

BODC aims to ensure that all data incorporated into our database are adequately documented to allow long term viability and future access. Therefore, key data set information (metadata) are important for each data set we receive.

Our 'General guide to data submission' provides details of

Discrete water sample data are considered to be any data that result from a single collection of water. Such data could originate from a single bottle attached to a rosette or drawn from a non-toxic supply.

Information specific to water sample data are described below. Metadata may be supplied in any standard document format (i.e. Microsoft Word or text), included in file headers or by providing a literature reference. Please do not be discouraged from sending us data even if some of the information is unavailable. We fully understand that there are many reasons why the standards specified may not be completely achieved.

Instructions for other data types are also available.

Data standard

Ideally, all data from a single source should be stored in a single file. However, it is not uncommon for a sample to undergo multiple analyses by different groups or laboratories and consequently be submitted separately. Therefore, it is crucial that the data be fully documented by date, time, position and sample identifier to enable us to merge data from a single source.

Data should be checked for quality and pre-edited or flagged for erroneous values.

Metadata specific to water sample data

Collection details

Instrument details


Data sampling/processing

Units per volume and per mass

Reporting and long-term storage units should follow the international standards and be as close to the measurement unit as possible. While units per litre should be the choice for the concentration of an element in a liquid, a large part of the oceanographic community recommends and requires concentrations of a substance in sea water to be expressed in units per kilogram. The conversion from units per mass to units per volume is subject to inaccuracies due to the fact that essential metadata measurements required for the conversion are rarely reported.

In line with recommendations from the First International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) Workshop on Quality Control of Chemical Oceanographic Data Collections, IOC Project Office for IODE, Oostende, Belgium, 8-11 February 2010, Paris, UNESCO, 25 March 2010 (Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Workshop Report No. 228), BODC asks that its data providers follow the following guidelines

Related BODC pages

Submitting data to BODC       BODC parameter dictionary
BODC data processing   Database design