The draft for a new BBL data release and use policy entitled Policy for Release and Use of Banding and Encounter Data.
DRAFT RECOMMENDED POLICY
POLICY FOR RELEASE AND USE OF BANDING AND ENCOUNTER DATA
shared responsibility of U.S. Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Bird Banding Laboratory Canadian Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Research Centre.
Bird Banding Office
- General: This Policy replaces all previous documents related to release and use of
banding and encounter data obtained through the Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL) and/or the Bird
Banding Office (BBO). Approval of this policy has been obtained from the U.S. Geological Survey,
Biological Resources Division and Environment Canada, Canadian Wildlife Service. The Policy is
written in accordance with regulations in both countries. It may be subject to revisions as
existing international agreements and/or federal regulations are amended.
- Applicability: This Policy covers release and use of all banding and encounter data
as well any other ancillary data that may be a part of the North American Banding files.
- Open-Data Policy: We encourage full use of banding data in the hopes that maximum
benefits will accrue to the avian resources. To promote this policy, data are available free
of charge via hard copy, electronically, and on the Internet as soon as possible after the
data are electronically coded. This is in keeping with the spirit of making information from
federal agencies as available to the public as possible. Banding records are usually provided
in summary format; raw banding records can be provided, if needed, in electronic form. To make
the data easy to access, retrieve, and summarize, appropriate tools and utilities will be made
available to potential users as they become available.
Having an open data policy regarding distribution of banding and encounter data is not without risks. However, the risks are justified given checks and balances and potential rewards. We recognize that many users might not know how to use banding and encounter data or associated ancillary data properly or the limitations of such data even if utilities and database tools are offered. The BBL and BBO will rely upon the scientific integrity of users and the scientific community, with its associated peer review process, to prevent data misuse and improper interpretations.
- Data Use: Record formats as well as a codes section of the Bird Banding Manual,
Vol I, necessary for data interpretation, are provided with the data to non-banders. This
information is in the Bird Banding Manual, Vol I, supplied to all banders when their permits
are issued and via the BBL Home Page. Users should be sure to check these codes before
contacting the BBL or BBO with questions concerning data (e.g., inexact date codes). The staff
of both the BBL and BBO will assist users as needed with code interpretation or other queries
regarding the data. A user who feels a record or part of a record is in error, should provide
the entire record to the BBL. BBL staff will verify the record and correct it, if necessary, as
time and staff permit.
- Permission to Publish: Bird banding records are maintained for use worldwide. The
data have been contributed by many cooperators and government biologists at considerable public
and private expense since 1908. Users of the data are expected to exhibit professional courtesy
and utilize the data within the bounds of the highest scientific integrity. However we cannot
enforce such courtesy and instead call upon users to operate ethically. Scientific ethics
dictate proper citation and crediting when significant data not collected by the author are
utilized in publication. Users of data should be sensitive to ongoing projects by others who
may be using the data, especially those who have collected the data, and should not allow the
data to be utilized inappropriately, for example, for disturbance of endangered or sensitive
We encourage users of banding data to allow the bander first right of use of their data for publication purposes. As a general rule, users should request permission from those banders who wish to be contacted (as indicated in the Permittee Database) for permission to publish their data if:
- A bander's past 5 years banding or encounter data contribute 5% or more of the total
records being used for publication, and/or
- individual banding or encounter records will be published or cited in the paper.
If the data are required by Federal, State, Provincial, or Territorial agencies in their mandate of migratory bird population management, permission to use the data is not required.
After obtaining permission from banders, the BBL and BBO will supply names and mailing addresses (including e-mail addresses when available) for permittees in a publicly-available database on the Internet. This will allow data users to contact banders for permission to use and publish their data as recommended above. In the U.S., if a bander declines to have their name and address put on the Internet site, the BBL will provide this information privately. Requests for using data of Canadian banders who do not consent to have their name and address put on the Internet site will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the BBO (in Canada, written consent must be obtained from the Canadian banders prior to releasing/supplying their name and address).
The scientific community must be the enforcer of ethical standards as it is not the purview of the BBL or BBO to legislate or enforce ethics. The user bears the responsibility of communication with the banders should questions of ethical data use arise.
- A bander's past 5 years banding or encounter data contribute 5% or more of the total records being used for publication, and/or
- Contacts for Data, Data Queries, or Data Verification: All data are available from both the BBL and BBO. Please contact the BBL if you are a United States citizen or the BBO if you are a Canadian citizen:
- Liability, Indemnification, and Disclaimer Statement: No warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the accuracy or utility of the data on any system or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. This disclaimer applies both to individual use of the data and aggregate use with other data. It is strongly recommended that these data are directly acquired from the Biological Resources Division (BRD) and not indirectly through other sources which may have changed the data in some way. The BRD shall not be held liable for improper or incorrect use of the data described and/or contained.
U.S. Geological Survey
Biological Resources Division
Bird Banding Laboratory
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
12100 Beech Forest Road STE-4037
Laurel MD 20708-4037
301-497-5790 Fax 301-497-5717
Canadian Wildlife Service
National Wildlife Research Centre
Bird Banding Office
Hull PQ Canada K1A 0H3
819-997-1121 Fax 819-953-6612