BOSCORF Curatorial Policy

Mission Statement

The British Ocean Sediment Core Research Facility (BOSCORF) will:

  1. Provide advanced state-of-the-art core logging and analysis facilities for community use.
  2. Serve as the UK national deep-sea core repository and national archive for marine, lacustrine and terrestrial palaeoenvironmental records.
  3. Provide long-term storage of sediment cores collected by NERC ships and NERC-funded researchers, under controlled conditions to ensure optimum preservation.
  4.  Maintain a database of sediment core holdings and promote the secondary usage of the core material in its care amongst the scientific community.
  5. Develop new innovative methods of automated non-destructive core analysis.
  6. Provide training in state-of-the-art core analysis, advanced core logging techniques and core data visualisation.
  7. Contribute to global digital archives of training images and online curatorial resources to provide high quality training aids.
  8. Be responsible for long-term data stewardship of core-based data relating to cores in its care and from core-based national marine programmes.
  9. Represent the Natural Environment Research Council at meetings of seafloor and lakebed sample curatorial facilities at an international level.

User Community:

Researchers, both in the UK and abroad, who are investigating Earth history and processes recorded in marine, terrestrial and lacustrine sediments and postgraduates undertaking training in the area encompassed by the NERC Mission.


Curatorial Policy

1. Responsibility for core housing

For the first 3 years after the cores are collected they will be under the responsibility of the Principal Scientist who will ensure

their storage at +4oC (with the exception of cores that need to be kept frozen) and careful maintenance. The repository will provide storage tubes where possible.

Three years after collection (or sooner subject to Principal Scientist agreement) the cores will be transferred to the BOSCORF repository where they will be stored at +4oC. Cores will be kept at the repository indefinitely or until they have been used up.

BAS cores may be retained at the BAS site in Cambridge if they are still being worked on. They will normally be transferred to BOSCORF between 5 and 10 years after collection.

2. Core logging

BOSCORF will provide a suite of core logging instruments. Whole core and/or split core logging will be carried out on suitable cores as soon as possible after core collection at the request of the Principal Scientist. In some cases, especially where cores are to be split at sea, this may be completed on the ship. In other cases, it will be achieved at BOSCORF or the establishment of the Principal Scientist.

The core logs will be archived at the repository, and made available to other users unless the logs form part of the Principal Scientist's primary research requirements. In this case, they will remain under the responsibility of the Principal Scientist for the first 3 years after core collection, after which they will be available for general release.

3. Data archive and availability

All data generated from analyses of each core or set of samples will be made available to the repository within 5 years of core collection or supply of samples. Publications citing the core data will also be made available. Following these 5-year periods the data will be made generally available on request to BOSCORF.

In the case of BAS cores, BAS holds virtually all-relevant site survey data. BAS staff are willing to supply background information on cores and to share existing data with bona fide researchers. In exchange for this BAS requests co-authorship or acknowledgment in publications, depending on level of involvement.

4. Sampling within 3 years of core collection

Sampling requests received within 3 years of core collection will be passed to the Principal Scientist who will assess whether the request is in conflict with his/her own research interests. If there is no conflict the request will be granted. If there is a conflict the sampling request will need to be resubmitted after the 3-year period.

5. Sampling 3 years after core collection

Sample requests by bona fide researchers will be honoured where possible as long as there is material available. Exceptions may be made if the size or number of samples is so large as to seriously deplete the core. In this case the management committee will decide on the merits of the request.

Once a sample request has been made it will be the responsibility of the scientist concerned to complete the sampling during a visit to the repository, or to request samples are taken by repository staff and posted. Assistance with identification of core lithologies will be given where necessary.

The BAS member of the BOSCORF Steering Committee should always be consulted about requests to sample BAS cores.

6. International sample requests

These will be treated in the same way as national requests. BOSCORF staff will be responsible for taking the samples and posting them.

7. Sediment archiving policy

Where possible, cores will be divided into working and archive halves, with the object being to keep a continuous vertical strip of sediment for as long as possible. The working half will be used first for sampling, but when material runs out at particular depths the archive half will be used. If possible one half of the archive will be used first, followed by the complete core.

In some cases the Principal Scientist who collects the cores may need to sample the total core or to freeze it, thus destroying much of its structure. In these cases it will not be possible to take an archive, but if possible the core should be logged before sampling.

8. Data archiving policy

Core data as recorded in the Annual Report and sediment analysis data, including core logging data, will be held on file at the repository. Subject to the restrictions in 3 and 4 above these data will be available on computer networks such as the Internet or direct from the repository.

9. Reference collections

The repository will contribute to global and local digital archives of training images and online curatorial resources to provide high- quality training aids. Microscope facilities will be available for the use of visitors.

Note: 1Principal scientist refers to the cruise leader/principal investigator of the cruise or project that originally collected the cores.