Data Policy

The Archive for Marine Species and Habitats Data (DASSH) is part of the UK's network of marine data archive centres, working closely with the UK IODE National Oceanographic Data Centre and other key partners. DASSH works in collaboration with, and is accredited by, the Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (MEDIN) and is a key data provider for the UK National Biodiversity Network. DASSH aims to safeguard marine biological data (past and future) and associated parameters and to make that data available as a national information resource to support marine science and better stewardship of the marine environment. DASSH is run by staff at the Marine Biological Association, Plymouth.

Data Acquisition

DASSH collects, manages, archives and publishes data and images collected (or collated) by a variety of public and private organizations who undertake biological surveys. DASSH holds data and images from both volunteer and professional surveyors in order to provide a data management and archive service. This service is available to data providers who wish to outsource their data management, ensure legislative compliance or who do not have the facilities to ensure the long-term security of their data.

The survey types held vary from one-off surveys or observations, to long-term time series, and monitoring programme data. Species data includes records of marine fauna and flora, while habitat data include biotope or assemblage data.

DASSH works in partnership with other MEDIN Data Archive Centres. The current list of DACs can be found here -

Submission of data to DASSH is free for those datasets supplied in an agreed, standard format. Currently supported standards include MEDIN Data Guidelines, Marine Recorder and Darwin Core Archive (DwCA)

Data Curation

When data or images are submitted to DASSH they undergo a process of quality control prior to archive storage, transformation and publication.

  1. All data and image resources are archived electronically on secure systems to ensure that a copy of the original data remains available for future reuse.
  2. All data and image resources and associated metadata undergo quality assurance. The checks differ depending on the type of data or images.
  3. DASSH may copy data / image files to different formats to ensure interoperability and facilitate data exchange
  4. Where permissions allow DASSH progress metadata and data to a range of national and global aggregators, including MEDIN, the National Biodiversity Network (NBN), the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)

Data Publishing

DASSH is committed to promoting the reuse of data. The DASSH policy is that the data resources held should be available free of charge, wherever possible, for use in decision making, research, education and other public-benefit purposes. To this end, DASSH aims to make marine biological survey data and its associated metadata freely available over the Internet, in order to contribute to the national resource of marine environmental data. However, there may be some circumstances in which DASSH, as a responsible data custodian, may need to restrict access to or obfuscate all or part of some data resources, for example:

  • If the Data provider has requested that certain data or information is withheld, for example where data may be commercially sensitive, or where the data is under preparation prior to publication. The restriction may be permanent or temporary depending on the Data providers' restrictions.
  • Where the data relate to those species that are considered 'sensitive' and the release of precise records may contribute to its vulnerability.
  • If the data contains personal information. Information within DASSH is managed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and the General Data Protection Regulation. Personal information will be removed from the data resources that we make available unless explicit consent is received.

In most cases DASSH will seek a clearly defined embargo period, after which the data can be released at native resolution.

DASSH will not seek to charge for the publication of data, unless the data request is excessively complex or time intensive, or requires the development of new access techniques or tools.

Data Use

DASSH holds datasets provided by a variety of public and private bodies, and individual researchers. The Data/image provider (and Copyright holder if different) will be stated in the associated metadata. Data providers retain the copyright of the original data or images at all times. Data providers have given DASSH their permission to hold a copy of their data/image(s) within the data archive.

DASSH is committed to open, accessible data, and so promotes the use of license models that support this approach.

All our data and image holdings are made available for use under the most appropriate data license, as agreed with the Data Provider and are outlined below.

License Types

Open Government Licence (OGL)

Used to enable public sector bodies to licence use of their data and use the data, subject to one single condition. This licence allows you to:

  • Copy, publish, distribute and transmit the data
  • Adapt the information
  • Exploit the data commercially and non-commercially

However, you must:

  • Acknowledge the data source and include any attribution statement specified by the Data Provider(s) and, where possible, provide a link to the licence information.

More information on this licence can be found on the National Archives website.

The Creative Commons CC-BY licence (see below) is the equivalent licence for non government organisations.

Creative Commons No rights reserved licence (CC0)

Under this licence, the data provider has waived any rights to the data under copyright or Intellectual Property Rights law.

This licence allows you to;

  • Copy, modify and distribute the data, including for commercial purposes, without seeking permission from the data provider

More information on CC0 can be found on the Creative Commons website

Creative Commons licence with attribution (CC-BY)

Data available under this licence can be used for any purpose, including commercial use.

This licence allows you to;

  • Share - copy and redistribute the data in any medium or format
  • Adapt - remix, transform and build upon the data

You must:

  • Give appropriate credit to the data provider
  • Provide a link to the licence
  • Indicate what, if any, changes have been made

More information on this licence can be found on the Creative Commons website

Creative Commons with attribution non-commercial (CC-BY-NC)

Data under this licence can be used under the same conditions as the CC-BY licence except the data cannot be used for commercial purposes.

More information on this licence can be found on the Creative Commons website.

Further information

A physical archive is also managed through DASSH, with each asset being catalogued and a corresponding metadata record created. Where time and funding allows these assets will be digitised and made widely available. Access to the physical archive must be requested in writing to