Australian Microbiome initiative Communications policy (v0.3 Jan 2019)


Download the Australian Microbiome initiative Communications policy v0.3 here


The Australian Microbiome has a strong interest in seeing that the data and capability produced by the initiative is actively communicated to and used by the wider community both scientific and general. All users of the data and capability produced through the initiative are expected to exhibit professional courtesy and utilise the data with the highest scientific integrity. When a substantial proportion of the data are provided through the research activities of others, Bioplatforms strongly encourages investigators to discuss details and expectations of the project, as well as issues of authorship and acknowledgement on publications prior to the start of the study.

1. General request for all Communications

All communications (scientific or general publications and presentations) that arise from the Australian Microbiome consortium’s work (and parents projects BASE, Marine Microbes) will appropriately acknowledge the input of all relevant contributions. The publications should specify the collaborative nature of the project, and authorship is expected to include all those contributing significantly to the work (see sections below).

Add the following text to the acknowledgements for general consortium recognition:

“We would like to acknowledge the contribution of the Australian Microbiome[1] consortium in the generation of data used in this publication. The Australian Microbiome initiative is supported by funding from Bioplatforms Australia and the Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) through the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), Parks Australia through the Bush Blitz program funded by the Australian Government and BHP, and the CSIRO”.

If relevant, also credit other organisations involved in collection of the particular data stream (as listed in ‘credit’ in the metadata record). The citation in a list of references is: Australian Microbiome consortium [year-of-data-download], [full metadata title], [data-access-URL], accessed [date-of-access]

2. Use of data by the Consortium

The Consortium reserves the right to conduct first analysis and ‘global analyses’ across these genomics reference datasets and publish the results in the scientific literature, provided this is done in a timely fashion. The Consortium Data Policy[2] outlines the data sharing expectations and responsibilities.

3. Use of data by investigators within or outside of the Consortium

Users of Consortium data, whether members of the Consortium or not, should be aware of the publication status of the data they use and treat them accordingly. For example, all investigators including data from other Consortium members should obtain the consent of the Steering Committee before using unpublished data in their individual publications, and the data producers should not unreasonably withhold this consent.

Investigators outside of the Consortium are free to use data generated by the initiative, but are asked to follow the guidelines developed at the Ft. Lauderdale meeting[3]. Specifically, data users should cite the source of the data and should acknowledge the sample contributors and the funding partners (see section 1). In addition, the data users are asked to recognise the interests of the data producers to publish reports on the generation and analysis of their data, as described previously. Datasets from the Australian Microbiome initiative may be released to public databases as pre-publication data and remain unpublished until they appear in peer-reviewed publications. Outside investigators who perform an in-depth analysis of data and are interested in publishing a report before the data producers do so should discuss their results with the data producer(s) and are encouraged to establish collaborations.

The following guideline may be used for acknowledgement and co-authorship, but specific details should be worked out between parties beforehand. Principal Investigators may wish to consider the proportion of data being used as a result of another Principal Investigators research activities.

As a guideline, in addition to the acknowledgement of the Australian Microbiome initiative:

  • Small and complementing dataset used: acknowledgement of the data producer(s) optional
  • Significant but disparate data used (from many different data producers): Consortium and data producer(s) should be contacted for discussion and acknowledged
  • Significant portion of data used integral to the publication: co-authorship to be offered (data producer can naturally decline)

The Australian Microbiome Project Manager and/or Scientific Lead can also facilitate communication with data producers.

4. Reporting of communications

Copies of communications are to be sent to the project manager (smazard@bioplatforms.com) for collection and circulated to the Consortium as appropriate.

For further information contact

Dr Anna Fitzgerald (afitzgerald@bioplatforms.com) (Bioplatforms Australia on behalf of the Australian Microbiome initiative and founding partners)


[1] http://www.australianmicrobiome.com/

[2] https://www.australianmicrobiome.com/initiative-activities/data-policy/

[3] http://www.sanger.ac.uk/legal/assets/fortlauderdalereport.pdf