Good data deposit guidelines

Good data

Your data should:

  • consistently include header rows and scientific units relating to any measurements
  • document details about any scientific standards, instrumentation, software, code or data collection methodologies used
  • be provided as a final version and therefore complete
  • ideally be 'open' data allowing it to be discovered and re-used by other interested parties
  • have all acronyms explained and use consistent naming conventions - guidance on naming strategy

Good data donation

When packaging up your data to deposit them with NGDC, you should consider the following.

Your data should be grouped appropriately with a common geographical location or science-specific topic, e.g. 'two site investigations for Smith Street' or 'a chemical analysis spreadsheet of limestone'. This may result in you needing to split the data into several separate donations.

A donation may contain datasets that underpin publications. In these cases, NGDC is interested in holding the data rather than the associated paper.

Only one data access type (either open or restricted) can be applied to an entire donation. If your donation contains both open and restricted data, you will need to split your data and donate them separately, otherwise the open portion of your data will not be visible to our open web systems.

Bespoke portals to deliver your own organisation's restricted donated data alongside NGDC openly available datasets can be built. Please contact the NGDC regarding commissioning such an activity.

Good AGS data


Correct formatting containing no errors with commas or quotes which may prevent the file from being processed automatically


Co–ordinates should be provided for all boreholes in British National Grid (m)

Key fields

All key fields must appear in each group but may contain null data. KEY fields are necessary to uniquely define the data.

No orphan Records

All records should relate to a parent sample or hole

No duplicate records

No duplicate records should be present as this breaks unique identifier rules

Complete information

Important but not mandatory fields should be populated such as PROJ_CONT or PROJ_ID

Translated codes

All Codes used should be present in ABBR

Numerical values

Although text can be stored in all AGS fields, this is not always appropriate for values relating to units, so these should contain numbers with remarks in a remarks field if required

Lithostratigraphy Codes

Lithostratigraphy should be recorded as a BGS lexicon code in GEOL_BGS. It shouldn’t just be recorded as part of the GEOL_DESC text.

Null means Null

Where there is no value the field should be null, it should not be padded out with zeros as this may effect statistical analysis


For further details, please contact