EarthChem highlighted in recent Nature call to make all scientific data FAIR

June 2019. A recent comment by Stall et al., in Nature urges all scientific disciplines to follow the Geosciences and demand best practices for publishing and data sharing. The comment highlights the efforts of the Geoscience community to elevate the value of data by making it more FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable). One key example is the shift of many Earth-science journals to no longer listing data in supplementary information, and instead requiring that data be made available in FAIR repositories. In addition to making data easier to re-use, repositories provide “persistent identifiers, curation expertise, landing pages, and support for the citation of data in papers”. Stall et al. specifically highlight EarthChem and its efforts to make data FAIR: “... data sets in the EarthChem Library at the Interdisciplinary Earth Data Alliance are easily found through Google Dataset Search. Data are straightforward to download from a landing page. Data-set formats are aligned with other geochemical, petrological and geochronological data. And they have a long useful life because of their rich metadata on provenance.” 

To shift research culture across all scientific disciplines the authors call for three changes: 1) Make depositing open and FAIR data a priority for all, 2) Recognize and incentivize FAIR data practices, 3) Fund global infrastructure to support FAIR data and tools. Click here to read the full Nature comment by Shelley Stall, Lynn Yarmey, Joel Cutcher-Gershenfeld, Brooks Hanson, Kerstin Lehnert, Brian Nosek, Mark Parsons, Erin Robinson & Lesley Wyborn. To learn more about the EarthChem Library or to submit your dataset please click here

A researcher accesses sediment cores collected during an ocean-drilling programme.Credit: Marc Steinmetz/VISUM/eyevine
A researcher accesses sediment cores collected during an ocean-drilling programme.Credit: Marc Steinmetz/VISUM/eyevine


EarthChem Newsletter, February 2019, Vol 1

February 2019. This newsletter summarizes new features and improvements at EarthChem as well as recent community engagement and featured datasets. To subscribe to future quarterly newsletters please click here.

Recent Improvements

  • EarthChem Library (ECL) version 3.6.4 was released. This new version allows users to select the Creative Commons license that they would like to associate with their dataset. Users can now choose between four different licenses, providing more flexibility for users to allow reuse for commercial purposes or to make the dataset public domain. See more release notes here.
  • The PetDB Search application has been completely redesigned to allow for easier data searching and integration. This new version enhances usability and supports new functionality such as: search by chemical composition; expanded map search, including a southern polar projection; search by age; search by International Geo Sample Number (IGSN); and plotting data as TAS and Harker diagrams. Please write to us at with any feedback or comments.

Featured Datasets

  • Major element data for olivine, orthopyroxene, and spinel within peridotites from the Southwest Indian Ridge. View in the ECL.
  • Characterization of plagioclase hosted melt inclusions in A91-1R (Blanco Transform Fault). View in the ECL.
  • LA-ICP-MS apatite fission track and U-Pb dataset for southern Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada. View in the ECL.
  • Hadean silicate differentiation preserved by anomalous 142Nd/144Nd ratios in the Reunion hotspot. View in PetDB.
  • Extensive young silicic volcanism produces large deep submarine lava flows in the NE Lau Basin. View in PetDB.
  • Mantle source heterogeneity for South Tyrrhenian magmas revealed by Pb isotopes & halogen contents of olivine-hosted melt inclusions. View in PetDB.

View the full list of new datasets in the ECL or all datasets in PetDB.

EarthChem Community

The EarthChem Team attended the AGU Fall Meeting held in Washington D.C. See more information below about our presentations at AGU, which included presentations about open and FAIR Data and participation in a Townhall regarding geochemical data standards. If you were not able to catch up with us at AGU, contact us at with questions or comments about our resources.

  • Building a Global Network of Geochemical Data: This Townhall discussed developing geochemical data standards in the Earth Sciences and opportunities for a global geochemical data network. To learn more, please refer to the presentation here

  • Boosting Data Science in Geochemistry: We Need Global Geochemical Data Standards and Networking!: In this presentation, Dr. Lehnert talked about how can we develop global standards that would allow for connecting and exchanging data among the geochemical data systems. The presentation can be found here.

Dr. Lehnert with Shelley Stall (not pictured) at the AGU booth’s FAIR demo.

Dr. Lehnert with Shelley Stall (not pictured) at the AGU booth’s FAIR demo.

Building a Global Network of Geochemical Data (AGU Town Hall)

December 2018. Please join us December 11th at AGU for a one hour town hall discussing the development of geochemical data standards and ideas for a global geochemical network.

Future science endeavors in geochemistry, petrology, mineralogy, and volcanology will increasingly rely on access to and analysis of large volumes of data as data science is emerging as a new research paradigm in these fields (see session V017 of the 2018 AGU Fall Meeting). Data systems such as EarthChem and GEOROC have provided access to global, though thematically focused data syntheses. More geochemical data systems are emerging at national, programmatic, and subdomain levels in response to Open Access policies and science needs, and many other data systems and repositories manage geochemical data. There is an urgent need to develop and implement global standards and best practices for geochemical data to become FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Re-usable), and to establish standard protocols for exchanging geochemical data among distributed data systems. This Town Hall aims to engage relevant communities in the Earth sciences in defining and planning steps toward the development of geochemical data standards as well as exploring ideas and opportunities for a global geochemical data network that facilitates and promotes discovery and access of geochemical data through coordination and collaboration among international geochemical data providers. The goal is converge on a common vision for such a global geochemical data network.

December 11, 2018, 6:15-7:15 pm, Marriott Marquis, Room: Independence E

For questions, please contact Kerstin Lehnert (

If you were not able to attend the Town Hall, please refer to our slides here.

Beta launch of the new PetDB Search

November 2018. EarthChem is pleased to announce the release of the beta version of the new PetDB. This version of PetDB is designed on a brand new architecture, which features a more flexible database schema and user interfaces, with improved support for data searching (e.g., by chemical composition) and interoperability (e.g., with MELTS). The old PetDB Search will be retired and replaced by the new version in January 2019.

Please provide feedback on the new PetDB to help us improve the system by contacting us at

Data Management Planning Workshop at Goldschmidt 2018

July 2018. Please join us for a 1-hour IEDA:EarthChem workshop/tutorial on data management planning at the Goldschmidt Conference in Boston.

Workshop Description:
Data management plans (DMP) are now required by federal funding agencies (NSF, NIH, etc.) with all new grant proposals. This workshop, geared toward faculty and researchers, will provide guidance for creating a data management plan and demonstrate online tools that support and facilitate the generation of high-quality DMP and Compliance Reports, including the IEDA DMP ToolezDMP, and the IEDA Data Compliance Reporting Tool. Please register for the workshop here.

When?  Thursday, August 16, 2018, 1-2PM

Where? Hynes Convention Center, room 108

The workshop is supported by the US National Science Foundation.

For questions, please contact Kerstin Lehnert (