Documenting your Research with the Coweeta LTER

The Coweeta LTER is a long-term integrated research program guided by its proposals. This page provides a step-by-step guide to the tasks researchers complete to link their projects with the program as whole.

1)  Project Proposal – The first step before starting research is to fill-out a Project Proposal.  Contact the Site Manager (Jason Love) about your project.  It might be helpful to talk to him first to if there are questions about sites (e.g., is it OK to sample stream sediments in a watershed that has an active weir) or protocols (e.g., can I collect 500 Trillium rhizomes at Coweeta for a transplant study).  The Site Manager will then give you the username and password to fill-out the Project Proposal.  This is then reviewed by the Site Manager, Coweeta Project Leader (Chelcy Ford), Coweeta LTER Lead-PI (Ted Gragson), and the Information Manager (Brian Herndon).  They may have additional questions about your proposal before you can start.  Here is the link to Project Proposals:

2) Data Management Plan - The NSF requires a data management plan for all projects.  Data Management Plans are submitted to the Coweeta LTER Information Manager (Brian Herndon).  The plan should be less than two pages and should describe the type of data to be collected, the type of instrumentation used, and the experimental design.  The plan also should include QA/QC procedures and types of products produced from the study (e.g., raw data or data derived by calculations).  More information about the data management plan can be found here:

3) Metadata and Data – NSF requires that all researchers they fund make their data publicly available within two years of the completion of their projects. For LTER participants, Coweeta LTER Policy (see dictates that this requirement be met by providing documented data packages to the Coweeta Information Manager.  A data package consists of both data and metadata and consists of three elements:

a) Data set metadata describe the purpose of the data, the questions the data were collected to answer, and the methods and instruments (if any) used to collect the data.

b) Variable metadata explain in detail what the data are by providing column descriptions, units of measure, variable types, etc.

c) The data themselves are structured observations that are accurately described by the metadata.

More information about these requirements, including more information about the CWT Data Submission Form , can be found here:

For background information about NSF data requirements and data documentation, see the links below:

4) Publications – The final task in the research process is to submit a PDF of the published manuscript to the Information Manager and Coweeta Office Manager.  Please email publications, including theses and dissertations, to   A hard copy of a thesis or dissertation is required for the Coweeta Hydrologic Lab.  All NSF-funded publications are required to have the following statement in the Acknowledgments section:  This research was supported by a National Science Foundation award DEB-0823293 from the Long Term Ecological Research Program to the Coweeta LTER Program at the University of Georgia. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or the University of Georgia. More information about Coweeta LTER’s Publication Policy can be found here: