Data Management Practices and Policies at the Basic Plasma Science Facility

Types of data produced:
Data acquired at the facility include digitized signals from Langmuir probes, magnetic probes, emissive probes, interferometers, spectrometers and other diagnostics as well as fast-framing camera movies of visible light emission. As time goes by and different types of data come into use, the facility will find ways to accommodate them. Data are organized by experimental run, typically centered on obtaining a 1D or 2D spatial profile of plasma parameters by moving a single or multiple probes, from shot-to-shot. Volumetric data can be assembled from multiple two-dimensional data sets.

Standards used for data/metadata format and content:
Data from individual experimental runs are stored in HDF5 files. Details on the Hierarchical Data Format, its many benefits, as well as examples programs, tools, and free software are available from the HDF Group. The choice of HDF5 makes data taken at the BAPSF more accessible to user groups in fields ranging from fusion science, to space physics, to the plasma processing industry, and beyond.

Metadata that describe the basic operational state of the LAPD are stored automatically for each experimental run. These include time series of the plasma source current, voltage, and microwave interferometer traces; axial magnetic field profile; chamber fill pressure; Residual Gas Analysis, etc. Due to the highly dynamic and flexible nature of experiments at the BaPSF, it is the responsibility of individual users to fully document each channel of time series data acquired. Such information may include dimensions of custom-built probes, calibrations, external circuit diagrams, and gain/attenuation settings.

Policies for access and sharing: The leader/PI of an experimental campaign on LAPD receives all data and has exclusive use of the data for analysis and publication.  

Policies and provision for re-use: Currently, re-use of data from the BAPSF is at the discretion of the leader/PI of the experimental campaign, and it is their responsibility to maintain compliance with the policies regarding data re-use by their original funding agency or agencies. A PI’s data is not made available to the plasma physics community without his/her permission.

Data archiving: Copies of HDF5 data files generated by users of the facility are kept for a period of at least three years. These files are stored on RAID arrays with disk-to-disk backup. In the future we will explore other means of data storage such as cloud-based storage and archiving services. Copies of the archived data are available upon request by the user group that originally generated the data.