Frequently Asked Questions

If your question is not answered here, please contact us.

Data Submission Requirements

Why should I submit my data?

To increase public access to the results of federally funded scientific research, as required by the DOE Public Access Plan (PDF).

Who needs to submit data and metadata?

The principal investigator (PI). The PI must submit data and metadata for his or her funded projects. The PI may delegate this responsibility to another researcher or analyst, but the contact information for the submission should correspond with the principal organization.

When should I submit my data?

As specified in your Data Management Plan and/or per your agreement with your DOE Project Officer. At minimum, data should be submitted as soon as it is considered the final data for your funded project, based on when you published your results or delivered the data. Be sure to allow additional time at the end of your project for the data submission process and to address any questions or issues that arise as a result of data submission.

What to Submit

What kinds of data should I submit?

The DOE NAWI Water DAMS was established to receive, manage and make available all desalination-relevant data generated by research contracted by the NAWI Alliance and funded by the DOE EERE Advanced Manufacturing Office. This includes data from DOE-funded projects associated with research of seawater, inland brackish groundwater, industrial water, municipal wastewater desalination, or produced water from oil and gas development, as well as data produced by DOE-funded research.

What should be included in my submission?

Every submission is different. The resources included in your submission should tell the complete story of your data. For example, a complete data package would include the raw data, the final result or polished data product, and a summary document or link to a published paper explaining the results, methods used, and any assumptions or external factors relevant to the creation of the data.

What data formats are preferred?

Preferred formats are those that support the best reusability; however, Water DAMS accepts a variety of file formats and will, in most cases, accept your submission in whatever format you wish to provide it. For data available in multiple formats, please consider the following guideline when choosing which format to submit. The tiers below are arranged in order of increasing inherent reusability:

Tier 1


unstructured data

  • PDF
  • Powerpoint
  • image
  • etc.

Tier 2


structured data

  • Excel
  • CSV
  • XML
  • etc.

Tier 3


structured + standardized data

  • data or content model
  • Standardized Excel, CSV, XML, RDF, JSON, etc.

What should I not submit?

Any personally identifiable information, business proprietary information, or copyrighted material should NOT be submitted.

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is any piece of information or combination of pieces that could be used to compromise the identity of an individual. A person's name alone is not considered PII, especially in the case of attribution. Contact information, such as email and home addresses, should not appear any submitted data. A submitter's contact information is required, but will only be used for questions about the data submission. Contact information for organizations is ok, including office email, the office address, coordinates, and phone and fax numbers. Personal information, such as home telephone numbers, email and home addresses, and birth dates is not allowed. Furthermore, private information, such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, passport and driver's license numbers, is expressly forbidden. All submissions should be purged of PII prior to submission.

Business Proprietary Information (limited rights) should also not be included in the data submitted. Data submitted will eventually be made available to the public. Data subject to copyright, business arrangement, publication or purchase agreement, and all data not authorized for eventual public release should not be uploaded.

Copyrighted Material of any kind, including journal articles, should not be uploaded to the catalog. When publicly available elsewhere, these data can, however, be linked to, if permanently hosted on other sites, using the Add Link button.

How to Submit Data

How should I organize my submission?

Data can be submitted as a single, consolidated submission or in multiple submissions. An individual submission can contain an unlimited number of data resources (files and links), but each resource must have a unique name within the submission. Submissions should be grouped into logical sets, associating like data together so that elements necessary for the comprehension of a resource are not in a different submission. If needed, a previous submission may always be linked to from a newer submission as one of its resources.

Combining resources by zipping or archiving should only be done when the resources are of little use individually. For example, the zipping of individual shapefile components into a single shapefile resource is strongly encouraged. Zipping is also recommended when submitting large quantities of files which are otherwise unable to be adequately organized. In this case, a separate file describing the structure and contents of the files should be included to allow ease of navigation.

How do I describe my data?

In ways that will allow your colleagues, clients, sponsors, and others to easily find and use your data. Think of your submission as a communication between you and your peers in the greater scientific and research communities. Consider these questions when completing the submission form:

  • What is in the data file(s)?
  • When, where, why and how was the data was captured/collected?
  • Are the units for the data obviously and unambiguously labeled?
  • What would someone need to know to use the data properly?
  • Are there any assumptions, proprietary software requirements, or other prerequisites to using the data?
How do I upload multiple files?

Select multiple files from your computer for simultaneous upload:

  • Click Add Files to open a window showing files on your computer.
  • To select more than one file at a time, hold Control (PC) or command (Mac) while selecting files with your mouse, or press and hold Shift and use the arrow keys to select multiple contiguous files.
  • When you're done selecting press Open or Choose (actual button will differ depending on your browser and operating system).
    This will upload the file and allow you to complete the file-specific information in the form.
  • Clicking Add Files again will allow you to select and upload more files.
  • After adding files and/or links, click on Add info and Add location to enter additional required information.
How do I link to a file on another site?

Simply link to the file using the fields provided after clicking the Add Link button. The link you submit must be a permanent URI (i.e. a URL that leads directly to a resource and does not pass through a search page or require more than one click to navigate to the data).

Examples of good, permanent URLs

Examples of bad, temporary URLs
How do I create an archive file?

The process for creating an archive file (also known as a compressed file) can differ from machine to machine, depending on your operating system and the software you have installed.
The following archive file formats are preferred: .zip, .gz, .tar, .tgz.

Windows: Locate and select the files you would like to archive. Right-click one of the selected files and chose Send to, then click Compressed (zipped) folder. The new archive (compressed folder) is created in the same location. This is what you will want to upload.

Mac: Locate and select the files you would like to archive. Right-click one of the selected files and chose Compress x Items, where x is the number of items you've selected. The new archive (compressed folder) is created in the same location. This is what you will want to upload.

What do I do if my file is too large?

There are no limits to filesize or number of files per submission. However, larger files may be difficult to upload over some internet connections, especially shared connections. If you have concerns about your file size or are having trouble uploading a large file, please contact us.

When will my data be available for download?

As soon as it has undergone the data curation process, which typically takes less than two weeks. For an update on your data, please contact us.

Do I have to complete my submission in one sitting, or is there a way to save progress?

You may save progress to your submission incrementally using the 'save' feature, which is found in the bottom right corner of the submission page. When you you are satisfied with the contents of your submission, click 'submit' and the curation process will be initiated.

When can I modify an existing submission?

Even after your submission is officially 'submitted,' you are able to make changes to your submission up until it is made publicly available. After that, you should create a new submission and reference your original submission in the description of the new submission. Include a link to your original submission using the Add Link button in the new submission.

What if only some of my files are subject to moratorium?

Moratoriums apply to entire submissions. All accompanying files will be subject to the moratorium. To expose select files at different times, they must be in separate submissions.

Metadata and Data Curation

What is metadata and why do I need to submit it?

Metadata refers to data and information that describe other data. Metadata summarizes your data so that others can easily find and work with them. Many of the metadata fields requested are required to meet data management guidelines from DOE, GSA, and other government agencies. These requirements are designed to promote the discovery of your data, increase their exposure to the scientific community, and enable their proper use.

What is data curation?

Data curation is a process we perform to help maintain data submissions for long periods of time to preserve viability, relevance, and usefulness. Curation is a phase of the submission process during which our curators review the metadata provided with each data submission for accuracy, completeness, and relevance to the submitted resources. In some cases, curators may contact submitters to resolve any discrepancies or omissions detected during the review.

How can I improve my submission's visibility in search engine results?

Search engine results are impacted by many factors, including the metadata provided to describe your published submission. The attribution of thorough, comprehensive metadata, including detailed descriptions, keywords, author names, and location information, will make a data submission more visible to search engines and other researchers. The keywords and descriptions provided should connect your contributions with a broader audience, including those searching with basic terminology. The metadata provided then follows your submission to many other data catalogs, providing essential context to anyone interested in your data. Complete metadata helps ensure that your team is properly credited for your work and can lead to new collaboration opportunities.

If you have additional questions on the submission process, please contact Water DAMS Help.

To submit data, create an account or login then go to the submission page and click the submit button.