The Linked Paleo Data framework: a common tongue for paleoclimatology


Paleoclimatology is a highly collaborative scientific endeavor, increasingly reliant on online databases for data sharing. Yet, there is currently no universal way to describe, store and share paleoclimate data: in other words, no standard. Data standards are often regarded by scientists as mere technicalities, though they underlie much scientific and technological innovation, as well as facilitating collaborations between research groups. In this article, we propose a preliminary data standard for paleoclimate data, general enough to accommodate all the proxy and measurement types encountered in a large international collaboration (PAGES2K). We also introduce a vehicle for such structured data (Linked Paleo Data, or LiPD), leveraging recent advances in knowledge representations (Linked Open Data).

The LiPD framework enables quick querying and extraction, and we expect that it will facilitate the writing of open-source, community codes to access, analyze, model and visualize paleoclimate observations. We welcome community feedback on this standard, and encourage paleoclimatologists to experiment with the format for their own purposes.