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Best Practices for Sharing Laboratory Analytical Data

Sample Metadata and Collection Management with SESAR

See the best practices document for registering samples and sample metadata.

Repositories for Sharing Data Derived from Samples

We recommend depositing data derived from samples in the EarthChem Library repository. You can submit your data to EarthChem directly through the submission page for EarthChem Library (ECL) in this Data Submission Portal.

If you need help with using the ECL, go to

Metadata for Describing Data Derived From Samples

At a high level, metadata associated with data derived from samples usually include:

  • Title: Your dataset title must contain concise and descriptive information about the content of the dataset (the “what” and “where”, for example “Gakkel Ridge basalt melt inclusion and mineral chemistry”). If submitting data from a publication, the dataset title may be the same as your publication title, but likely will be different since your ECL dataset will paint a different story than your full publication.
  • Abstract: Your abstract must describe in full sentences the measurements, location, and purpose of the dataset. The abstract should be <250 words and different from your related publication abstract. Avoid abbreviations and acronyms. Include relevant keywords, such as the geographic area or cruise or field program name, for example “This dataset presents analyses of volatile, major, and trace elements for a suite of glasses and melt inclusions from the 85 degrees E segment of the ultra-slow spreading Gakkel Ridge”.
  • Methods: All analytes, units, and technique, instrument and laboratory must be clearly stated and defined. Relevant standards, reference measurements, and additional information about instrument calibration should also be included when possible.
  • Sample names: Every analyte must be linked to a sample with a sample name and geospatial information (unless not applicable, i.e. experimental samples).
  • Identifiers: We strongly recommend use of IGSNs (International Geo Sample Number) as persistent identifiers to identify samples.

If submitting a compilation dataset, the ECL requires a reference sheet or tab with full citations of all referred publications.

Formats for Sharing Data Derived From Samples

If you are submitting tabular data it should be in an ECL template but must at the very least be in a .csv, .txt, or .xlsx file (not in .pdf, .docx, .jpeg, etc.). For more information on file formats please consult our file policies.

Organizing Data for Sharing

We strongly recommend the use of data submission templates. Templates are available for various data types such as bulk analysis (majors, traces, isotopes), mineral analysis (in-situ analysis), and melt inclusion analysis. If a template does not yet exist for your data type, you may contact us about creating one at

Additional Best Practices for Data Derived From Samples

The following recommendations are not meant to represent an exhaustive list but will provide relevant guidance. If you have specific questions about your data, please feel free to contact us.