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PDS Geosciences Node, Washington University in St. Louis
Geosciences Node Data
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This site may be down on Thursdays between 7:00 and 9:30 pm Central Time for maintenance.

Help for Proposal Writers

If you can't find what you need here, check the Geosciences Node Data Providers' Forum to see if your question has already been discussed. You may post a question in the Forum (after signing up for a free account), or you may email your question to

Do you need a letter of support from the PDS Geosciences Node for your proposal? See our Proposal Letter Requests page.

Has your proposal been accepted? Congratulations! See our
What to Expect if Your Proposal is Accepted page.

If you are writing a proposal that includes the use of an existing PDS data set or the generation of a new PDS data set, please follow these guidelines.

Use of Existing PDS Data Sets

  • Check the instructions for the program to which you are proposing for any rules about which PDS data sets are acceptable. Some programs have specific requirements about the status of PDS data sets for use in proposals.

  • The archive status of each PDS Geosciences Node data set is listed on the page All Geosciences Node Data Holdings

  • When mentioning a PDS data set in your proposal, cite the PDS Data Set ID (for PDS3 data sets) or the Bundle Logical Identifier or LID (for PDS4 data sets), which uniquely identifies the data set in all of PDS. Many data sets have similar names, so specifying the unique identifier avoids any ambiguity.

Generation of a New PDS Data Set

  • What tasks are involved in creating a new data set?

    What The P.I. does:

    • Produces PDS4-compatible data products.
    • Produces PDS labels, which under PDS4 are XML files.
    • Writes supporting documentation.
    • Organizes data, labels, documentation, etc. into an archive package.
    • Validates labels using PDS provided tools.
    • Participates in peer review (done via web, email and phone; no travel necessary).
    • Makes updates, as necessary, based on peer review recommendations.
    • Delivers final package to PDS.

    What the PDS Node does, using PDS funds:

    • Provides advice on PDS standards and requirements.
    • Helps in designing PDS labels, if needed.
    • Provides available PDS tools.
    • Sets up and conducts a peer review.
    • Accepts the final package and integrates the data into its archives, including making it available on the Geosciences Node web site.

See here for information on what to expect if your proposal is accepted.

  • Contact PDS. If you intend to archive your data in PDS, discuss it with PDS before submitting your proposal. We can tell you what would be required to make your data into a PDS archive, and make sure you are connected with the right PDS node to handle your data. The node can provide a letter stating that it is aware of your proposed effort and can support the archiving of your data. Please don't wait until the last minute! See the PDS Policy on Requesting Letters of Support.

  • Which PDS node? Links to all the PDS nodes are found in the orange bar near the bottom of this page. To determine if a node is the right one to archive your data, look at the node's web site to see the types of data already archived there. Contact information for all PDS nodes is available on their web sites and on the main PDS web site Contact page. To contact the Geosciences Node, send email to

  • Estimation of Effort. If your proposal is accepted, you will be assigned a PDS node representative who will be your point of contact to help you prepare your archive. You should work closely with him/her throughout the course of your work in generating the data set. Even if you are a seasoned PDS veteran, it's unlikely that you can simply deliver an archive-ready package to PDS at the end of your work. Your PDS representative can help you define your data structures, design PDS labels, design the components of the archive (data, documentation, index tables, supporting materials), and prepare for the peer review. Discuss the scope of this work with your PDS representative in order to accurately estimate the effort required in your proposal.

  • Data Management Plans (DMP). Most of the programs relevant to the Geosciences Node require a DMP. You are strongly encouraged to include delivery dates and milestones relevant to PDS archiving in your DMP. See the links here for more information about DMPs.

  • Tools. The Geosciences Node provides the MakeLabels program to generate PDS4 labels from a template. This and other tools are available on our Tools page.

  • Peer Review. Every data set archived in PDS must pass a peer review. The review committee consists of a small number of scientists who have relevant expertise, along with PDS representatives. The review results in a list of recommendations called liens that must be addressed before the data set can be accepted.  

  • More Information.

  • Compressed Data Policy. If you are considering archiving data in compressed files, e.g. JPEG images, you may need to reconsider. Please read the PDS Policy for Use of Compression in PDS Archives.


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