Curation levels

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PANGAEA Data Curation Levels

PANGAEA curation levels are NOT describing the quality or the scientific significance of any archived data sets. It is used to elicit whether data has been archived unchanged as submitted by data producers or the content was enhanced by standardization and harmonisation steps prior to or during data curation and thus provides enhanced metadata description. PANGAEA is aiming to make data always as FAIR as possible according to FAIR principles (Wilkinson et al., 2016). The used definitions are adopted from the Core Trust Seal curation levels and the GFBio data curation levels. PANGAEA provides the following data curation levels:

Basic curation

“Basic curation” = Metadata curation:
Editorial metadata check, data set has mandatory metadata or documentation. Static/Binary files (e.g. tables). Data values not entered into PANGAEA’s relational database system. Receive DOI upon publication.

Enhanced curation

“Enhanced curation” = Metadata and data curation:
Conversion to PANGAEA compatible formats, enhancement of documentation by data values are usually incorporated into PANGAEA’s relational database. Data is quality checked, harmonized & standardised. Extended Metadata (e.g. parameters, methods) are assigned to all data. Receive DOI upon publication.


Data Curator (synonym: Data Editor): A domain expert tasked with reviewing, enhancing, cleaning, or standardizing metadata and the associated data submitted to PANGAEA

Data producer: A PANGAEA user submitting data.

Metadata: Metadata summarize all necessary information about data in a structured way to make the data understandable and machine readable.

Basic curation Enhanced curation
Dataset is archived as a static/binary file (✓)
Exchange with data producer regarding metadata
Metadata are curated by data editor
Metadata are assigned to PANGAEA consensus elements of community agreed standards for data exchange
Persistent DOIs are assigned to published datasets
Exchange with data producer regarding research data content and quality
Research data are curated by data editor and integrated in the relational database of PANGAEA
Research data are assigned to PANGAEA consensus elements of community agreed standards for data exchange


  • Wilkinson, M. D. et al. (2016) The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Sci. Data 3:160018 doi:10.1038/sdata.2016.18
  • CoreTrustSeal Standards and Certification Board. (2019). CoreTrustSeal Trustworthy Data Repositories Requirements: Extended Guidance 2020–2022 (v02.00-2020-2022). Zenodo.