Conditions of participation in the Australian Antarctic Science Program
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CIs of all approved projects, including all grants, will be required to sign an agreement letter [PDF] before participating in the AASP. The agreement letter includes information on the following requirements:
- working in the field
- data management
Working in the field
All participants in the AAP who travel to Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic or who conduct marine science in the Southern Ocean are called expeditioners. All expeditioners must undergo pre-departure medical, psychological and security checks, and agree to abide by certain conditions (including codes of behaviour), comply with training requirements and hold necessary insurances before being accepted into the program. More detail is provided below and on the AAD website.
Delays in travelling to Antarctica are not uncommon, and passengers should budget for up to two nights of additional accommodation should the ship or aircraft be delayed. In the event of a flight 'no go' or 'turnaround' situation (that is, where expeditioners have booked out of their accommodation and have travelled to the airport) the AAD will arrange short-term accommodation for those with a requirement and will advise expeditioners either directly or through the Flight Representative. In this situation short-term accommodation will be provided at AAD cost.
Expeditioners must be certified fit for Antarctic service by medical officers of the AAD’s Polar Medicine Unit after an examination by a Sonic HealthPlus medical advisor or other approved medical officer.
The standard medical examination costs approximately $900 and the CI will be responsible for paying these costs for all field personnel participating in the proposed project. In some cases, further investigations are required to determine medical fitness which may necessitate referral to specialists. These additional costs will also be the responsibility of the CI.
Expeditioners will be contacted and asked to complete a medical checklist prior to a medical examination.
Psychological (adaptability) assessment
Expeditioners deployed for three months or longer (from date of departure to date of return), or field-based regardless of duration, will be required to attend a psychological (adaptability) assessment. Summer-only expeditioners who have obtained a suitable adaptability rating within the last three years will be exempt from this assessment. Foreign scientists and special visitors approved by the Director of the AAD may also be exempted.
Personal qualities assessment
Expeditioners deployed for three months or longer will be required to undertake a personal qualities assessment. This is separate to the psychological (adaptability) assessment, but will often take place around the same time. Expeditioners who have participated in the AAP in the last three years are exempt from this assessment.
Code of behaviour
All expeditioners must abide by the Antarctic Service Code of Personal Behaviour, Australian Public Service (APS) Values, and APS Code of Conduct. Expeditioners are required to sign the document Acceptance of Conditions for Participation in the AAP [PDF], which encompasses these behaviours and code. Any person who chooses not to abide by these conditions will not be permitted to participate.
All expeditioners, including researchers on Australian Antarctic stations, are usually required to perform other duties as rostered by the station leader in addition to the duties of their own position. For example, summering scientists are usually asked to assist with general kitchen duties.
Volunteers and expeditioners not employed by the Australian Government are required to sign a Release and Indemnity form [PDF] absolving the government of responsibility for any loss or injury suffered during participation, on the expectation that expeditioners employed by other organisations, including universities, are covered for loss of income, injury or death under their organisation's workers compensation, and travel insurance.
Further information regarding insurance, including personal effects, is available in the expeditioner handbook.
All expeditioners are required to participate in briefings and/or training programs prior to departure. Where required, relevant field training is also conducted in Antarctica.
Expeditioners may be exempted from the field component of this training by the Operations Manager if they have recently participated in field training.
Costs associated with training are the responsibility of the CI.
The Australian Government has mandatory requirements for accessing government facilities and IT networks. These requirements include providing proof of identity, completing a character check (usually a Police History Check for Australian residents or for non-Australian residents either a Police History Report from their country or a certification of their character from the organisation/institution in which they are employed) and signing a confidentiality agreement for official information.
Additional field costs
While the AAD covers most costs associated with project fieldwork, if satellite communications (for example, Iridium phones) are required in the field, those costs will be attributable to the project. Data transfers from the ship may also be charged depending on the amount. Phone calls from station and ship are also charged to the individual or project.
Data management plans
Data management plans (DMPs) are mandatory for all AASP projects and must be submitted within six months of project approval notification. DMPs are created from within the online application MyScience. Access to MyScience is limited to science project staff who have past or current AAS projects and who have created an account on the Australian Antarctic Data Centre (AADC) website. DMPs are assessed and approved by the AADC.
Data policy overview
Article III.1.c of the Antarctic Treaty states 'scientific observations and results from Antarctica shall be exchanged and made freely available.' Australia has endorsed this clause and established the AADC to assist in fulfilling its obligations under this Treaty. For more information see the AAP Data Policy.
Ownership and management of data and samples
All data and samples collected under the AAP remain the property of the Commonwealth of Australia. This excludes samples collected from Macquarie Island which are the property of the Tasmanian Government. CIs are responsible for ensuring that all data and samples generated as part of their research are adequately managed for long-term re-use. This generally involves ensuring from the outset that all data/samples are adequately documented with metadata and that arrangements are made for data to be deposited with the AADC. Alternative long-term repositories will be considered to host data but this will require a due diligence check of the nominated repository by the AADC.
Appropriate metadata must be created in the AADC’s metadata system (the catalogue of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic metadata CAASM) to describe any captured data and all data must be submitted to the AADC, or an approved long-term repository, by the project’s end date. Metadata creation can also be accomplished from within MyScience. Progress towards completion of metadata and submission of all datasets will be recorded through the AADC online MyScience application. Note that all metadata records are made public after initial moderation and should be available from an early point in the project’s execution.
Chief investigator data management responsibilities
The main responsibility of CIs is to ensure that projects under their management comply with all aspects of the data policy:
- Submit a DMP to the AADC within six months of the project approval date.
- Submit data (raw, processed and ancillary), derived products and associated metadata in an acceptable form to the AADC within the timelines set for data submission.
- Make provision for the management of any physical samples in an appropriately catalogued collection (information on collecting and importing scientific samples is available on the AAD website).
- Provide updated information on progress against tasks in the DMP in annual report.
- Adopt the norm of formally citing data used in their research within reports and peer reviewed publications (as per data policy guidelines).
Data publication and data usage
Unless there are extenuating circumstances, project data submitted to the AADC will be made publicly available, usually after a suitable embargo period. Data may be also be published through global data access networks such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Under the open spirit of the AAP Data Policy any person intending to access and use AAP data is encouraged to contact the data originator to discuss intended usage before applying the data.
Extenuating circumstances that argue for a delay in publication or a restriction in the data’s distribution must be presented to the AADC Manager. The AADC Manager will then provide advice to the AAD Chief Scientist who will determine the merits or otherwise of the request.
Chief investigators must ensure all publications arising from their project are entered on the AAD publications database, through the MyScience request facility or directly by providing the citation and a relevant project number to firstname.lastname@example.org.