Investigating the data

So what happens next? Many months and even years in some cases, of sample and data analysis, will result in datasets that will be published and available to all. Read on for more information about what we are doing to make this happen.

Ongoing work

While the scientists continue to analyse samples and quality-check and finalise the data, information about the processes they go through is captured. Alongside all of the information that is noted when the data and samples are collected, this package of information together, forms metadata describing the final datasets. Metadata is hugely important for someone who might come along to use the data in the future, because it allows them to understand how the dataset has been produced, any limitations it may have and indeed exactly what the data are about.

Using data science techniques to explore further

We are now working to make the data secure for the future and available alongside its metadata to all, so that other scientists and the general public are able to explore it and utilise it to its full extent. We are also working with data scientists at the newly-formed Swiss Data Science Center on a project named ACE-DATA, to explore possible interactions between datasets that we hadn’t previously considered. This work will hopefully answer some questions about the interface between the sea and the atmosphere and may lead to further questions to be answered in the future.

For more information on the ACE-DATA project take a look at:

Thomas, J., Landwehr, S., Volpi, M. and Schmale, J. (2019). ACE-DATA: Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition: Delivering Added value To Antarctica (Version 1.0). Zenodo.

Making the data available

As mentioned in the article about ACE-DATA, a platform developed by the Swiss Data Science Center, called RENKU, will be used to capture the metadata and access the data. Datasets will also be available through some repositories that hold similar datasets to ensure they are easily discoverable by scientists, or others looking for them in that particular domain. We aim to follow the FAIR data principles (Wilkinson et al., 2016) to ensure that the data are as easily discoverable and user-friendly as possible. As far as possible, all datasets will be made available with a similar set of metadata and data in a similar format, to make it much easier to bring together datasets from ACE for comparison and further study.

Polar data community

Both the Antarctic and Arctic data communities are well established and have a dedicated group of individuals and institutions that contribute to ensuring data collected in these regions is accessible to local communities (for the Arctic), scientists working in these areas, the general public and others who may be interested. Working closely together they assist in making this happen, from advising on best practise and coming up with novel solutions to the various problems that we see as technology develops so rapidly.

At the Swiss Polar Institute, it is not our aim to reinvent the wheel, but to use already-established methods that fit in with the communities’ aims and work to ensure the data from ACE are available to the polar community as well. This is particularly important when deciding on metadata standards, as this allows the data to be discovered in the right places.


Wilkinson, M. D., Dumontier, M., Aalbersberg, Ij. J., Appleton, G., Axton, M., Baak, A., Blomberg, N., Boiten, J. W., da Silva Santos, L. B., Bourne, P. E., Bouwman, J., Brookes, A. J., Clark, T., Crosas, M., Dillo, I., Dumon, O., Edmunds, S., Evelo, C. T., Finkers, R., Gonzalez-Beltran, A., Gray, A. J. G., Groth, P., Goble, C., Grethe, J. S., Heringa, J., t Hoen, P. A. C., Hooft, R., Kuhn, T., Kok, R., Kok, J., Lusher, S. J., Martone, M. E., Mons, A., Packer, A. L., Persson, B., Rocca-Serra, P., Roos, M., van Schaik, R., Sansone, S. A., Schultes, E., Sengstag, T., Slater, T., Strawn, G., Swertz, M. A., Thompson, M., Van Der Lei, J., Van Mulligen, E., Velterop, J., Waagmeester, A., Wittenburg, P., Wolstencroft, K., Zhao, J. and Mons, B. (2016) ‘Comment: The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship’, Scientific Data, 3, p. 160018. doi: 10.1038/sdata.2016.18.

To see published data sets, click here.