Data sharing policy

The University of Michigan is a public institution, and one aspect of its mission is research and  the application of knowledge to problems of general public interest.  The Rouge River Bird Observatory (RRBO) at the University of Michigan-Dearborn studies the importance of urban areas to birds, especially migratory birds.  To fulfill its mission, RRBO collects, manages, and interprets scientific data related to birds on the University of Michigan-Dearborn campus, the city of Dearborn, and Wayne County.  RRBO believes that data sharing is often appropriate  for translation of research results into knowledge, products, and procedures to improve the conservation and management of bird populations.  Although RRBO recognizes the value of releasing data quickly and widely, RRBO also recognizes the need to maintain high standards for data quality.  The purpose of RRBO’s data release/sharing policy is to establish guidelines for data release and sharing that balances the desire to disseminate data as broadly as possible with the need to maintain high standards.  Those requesting data from RRBO will be required to comply with certain protocols and restrictions, including but not limited to what is described below.

Uses of data
The assumption is usually made that data will be used for scientific purposes. The purpose for which the data will be used, and any intention to publish, must be described and documented by the requester, in the request for data release.

Data may only be used for the purpose described in the data release request. Data are not to be used for any other purpose or made available to other persons or organizations without prior written permission from RRBO.  Data will not be modified, and will be copied only as is necessary to accomplish the purposes stated in the data release request.

Data availability
Data collected for special projects or data subject to pending publication by RRBO will not usually be released until three years after the end of the project or six months after the publication date. Exceptions may be made upon agreement by both RRBO and the University.

Data will normally be provided on a non-exclusive basis. That is, RRBO may provide the same data to other researchers or data requesters at any time.

Permission to use RRBO data expires two years after release of the data.  Once the data is no longer required, all copies must be disposed of in a way to prevent unauthorized access.

Attribution of data
Scientific ethics dictate proper citation and crediting when significant data not collected by the author are utilized in publication. Requesters will acknowledge the Rouge River Bird Observatory  and the University of Michigan-Dearborn as a data source. The researchers/authors agree to submit the acknowledgments for approval by RRBO before submission of a manuscript for publication.

In circumstances where a substantial portion of the data used in a  publication is derived from RRBO, Julie Craves or the appropriate researcher at the University of Michigan-Dearborn may have an interest in serving as a co-author. If RRBO determines that co-authorship is appropriate, agreement between the parties on the role of RRBO, and order of authors, must be reached before the data are released.

RRBO retains the copyright on all data provided to researchers/authors, unless the copyright has been legally transferred to an individual, group, or organization.

Final product
RRBO requires that manuscripts or other products utilizing RRBO data be submitted to the RRBO for review, comments and suggestions.  A copy of any resulting publication or thesis will be provided by the author to RRBO and the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Please click for a downloadable data use request form:
Word doc format
PDF format

You may return the form via fax (313-583-6444), email attachment ( or mail it to:
Rouge River Bird Observatory
University of Michigan-Dearborn
Environmental Interpretive Center
Dearborn, MI 48128

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