Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not answered here, please contact us.

What to Submit

What kinds of data should I submit?

The RE Data Catalog was established to receive, manage and make available all relevant data from RE Explorer countries and regions.

What should be included in my submission?

Every submission is different. The resources included in your submission should tell the complete story of your data. For example, a complete data package would include the raw data, the final result or polished data product, and a summary document or link to a published paper explaining the results, methods used, and any assumptions or external factors relevant to the creation of the data.

What data formats are preferred?

Preferred formats are those that support the best reusability; however, the RE Data Catalog accepts a variety of file formats and will, in most cases, accept your submission in whatever format you wish to provide it. For data available in multiple formats, please consider the following guideline when choosing which format to submit. The tiers below are arranged in order of increasing inherent reusability:

Tier 1


unstructured data

  • PDF
  • Powerpoint
  • image
  • etc.

Tier 2


structured data

  • Excel
  • CSV
  • XML
  • etc.

Tier 3


structured + standardized data

  • international standards
  • Standardized Excel, CSV, XML, RDF, JSON, etc.
What should I not submit?

Any personally identifiable information, business proprietary information, or copyrighted material should NOT be submitted.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is any piece of information or combination of pieces that could be used to compromise the identity of an individual. A person's name alone is not considered PII, especially in the case of attribution. Contact information, such as email and home addresses, should not appear any submitted data. A submitter's contact information is required, but will only be used for questions about the data submission. Contact information for organizations is ok, including office email, the office address, coordinates, and phone and fax numbers. Personal information, such as home telephone numbers, email and home addresses, and birth dates is not allowed. Furthermore, private information, such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, passport and driver's license numbers, is expressly forbidden. All submissions should be purged of PII prior to submission.

Business Proprietary Information (limited rights) should also not be included in the data submitted. Data submitted will eventually be made available to the public. Data subject to copyright, business arrangement, publication or purchase agreement, and all data not authorized for eventual public release should not be uploaded to the RE Data Catalog.

Copyrighted Material of any kind, including journal articles, should not be uploaded to the catalog. When publicly available elsewhere, these data can, however, be linked to, if permanently hosted on other sites, using the Add Link button.

How to Submit Data

How should I organize my submission?

Data can be submitted as a single, consolidated submission or in multiple submissions. An individual submission can contain an unlimited number of data resources (files and links), but each resource must have a unique name within the submission. Submissions should be grouped into logical sets, associating like data together so that elements necessary for the comprehension of a resource are not in a different submission. If needed, a previous submission may always be linked to from a newer submission as one of its resources.

Combining resources by zipping or archiving should only be done when the resources are of little use individually. For example, the zipping of individual shapefile components into a single shapefile resource is strongly encouraged.

How do I describe my data?

In ways that will allow your colleagues, clients, sponsors, and others to easily find and use your data. Think of your submission as a communication between you and your peers in the greater scientific and research communities. Consider these questions when completing the submission form:

  • What is in the data file(s)?
  • When, where, why and how was the data was captured/collected?
  • Are the units for the data obviously and unambiguously labeled?
  • What would someone need to know to use the data properly?
  • Are there any assumptions, proprietary software requirements, or other prerequisites to using the data?
How do I upload multiple files?

Select multiple files from your computer for simultaneous upload:

  • Click Add Files to open a window showing files on your computer.
  • To select more than one file at a time, hold Control (PC) or command (Mac) while selecting files with your mouse, or press and hold Shift and use the arrow keys to select multiple contiguous files.
  • When you're done selecting press Open or Choose (actual button will differ depending on your browser and operating system).
    This will upload the file and allow you to complete the file-specific information in the form.
  • Clicking Add Files again will allow you to select and upload more files.
  • After adding files and/or links, click on Add info and Add location to enter additional required information.
How do I link to a file on another site?

Simply link to the file using the fields provided after clicking the Add Link button. The link you submit must be a permanent URI (i.e. a URL that leads directly to a resource and does not pass through a search page or require more than one click to navigate to the data).

Examples of good, permanent URLs

Examples of bad, temporary URLs
How do I create an archive file?

The process for creating an archive file (also known as a compressed file) can differ from machine to machine, depending on your operating system and the software you have installed.
The RE Data Catalog prefers the following archive file formats: .zip, .gz, .tar, .tgz.

Windows: Locate and select the files you would like to archive. Right-click one of the selected files and chose Send to, then click Compressed (zipped) folder. The new archive (compressed folder) is created in the same location. This is what you will want to upload.

Mac: Locate and select the files you would like to archive. Right-click one of the selected files and chose Compress x Items, where x is the number of items you've selected. The new archive (compressed folder) is created in the same location. This is what you will want to upload.

What do I do if my file is too large?

Files over 700 MB may be difficult to upload over some internet connections. High-speed personal connections are ideal as corporate connections sometimes place limits on file upload size. There is no limit to the number of files you can submit. If you are having trouble uploading a large file, please contact us to determine the best course of action.

When will my data be available for download?

As soon as it has undergone the data curation process, which typically takes less than two weeks. For an update on your data, please contact us.

When can I modify an existing submission?

Only up until it has been approve by a curator. After that, you should create a new submission and reference your original submission in the description of the new submission. Include a link to your original submission using the Add Link button in the new submission.

What if only some of my files are subject to moratorium?

Moratoriums apply to entire submissions. All accompanying files will be subject to the moratorium. To expose select files at different times, they must be in separate submissions.

Metadata and Data Curation

What is metadata and why do I need to submit it?

Metadata refers to data and information that describe other data. Metadata summarizes your data so that others can easily find and work with them. Many of the metadata fields requested are required to meet international data management standards. These requirements are designed to promote the discovery of your data, increase their exposure to the scientific community, and enable their proper use.

What is data curation?

Data curation is commonly defined as a process or activity performed to help maintain data for long periods of time to preserve viability, relevance, and usefulness. For the purposes of the RE Data Catalog, data curation is a phase of the submission process during which curators review the metadata provided with each submission for accuracy, completeness, and relevance to the submitted files. In some cases, curators may contact submitters to resolve any discrepancies or omissions detected during the review.

If you have additional questions on the submission process, please contact RE Data Catalog Help.

To submit data, create an account or login then go to the submission page and click the submit button.