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PDS Geosciences Node, Washington University in St. Louis
Geosciences Node Data
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What We Need From Reviewers

The purpose of the review process is to ensure that the data are complete, intelligible, interpretable, and of archival quality. All these attributes are subjective to some extent. Here are some guidelines for evaluation.


Completeness means that the data set contains all the documentation, calibration information, and other ancillary information needed to interpret the data.


Intelligibility is concerned with the physical and logical formatting of the data files. Electronic data are considered intelligible if they are readable by any reasonable computer system operated by a knowledgeable user who has access to the data set documentation. We assume that such a user and system can display any ASCII files included in the data set without difficulty, and thus has access to the documentation included with the data set. The documentation should provide sufficient details about the physical and logical format for the user to either read the data directly into an application, or reformat the data as necessary to use it.


Whether the data are interpretable or not depends largely on the documentation. At the record level, the documentation should define the meaning, units of measure and significance of each field. At higher levels the documentation should describe how the data were collected and reduced to their current state. Calibration files and other ancillary data should be available and themselves documented.

Interpretability should be measured with respect to a knowledgeable professional. That is, interpretability does not mean that the documentation must explain the data and their significance at the level of the general lay public.

Archive Quality

The opinions of the outside reviewers are weighed very heavily in determining whether a data set is of archive quality; that is, will it still be useable many years after the mission is over, when the data providers are no longer available to answer questions.

Back to Help for Data Reviewers


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Curator: Susan Slavney
NASA Official: Raymond E. Arvidson
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