United States Polar Rock Repository

Policy for Sample Donation, Distribution and Publication



1)      Introduction

2)      Sample Donation Guidelines

3)      Sample Distribution Policy Guidelines

a)      Sample Request Procedures

4)      Investigator Responsibilities

5)      Publication Policy

6)      Sample Requests for Educational Use and Public Display

7)      USPRR Responsibilities

a)      Curator

b)      Sample Allocation Committee

c)      Curatorial Advisory Board

8)      Appendix A:  Contact Information: Steering Committee, Curator


1)      Introduction

a)  The United States Polar Rock Repository is a national facility designed for the permanent curatorial preservation of rock samples from Polar Regions.  It is supported by the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs. The repository is located adjacent to Scott Hall, home of the Byrd Polar Research Center at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. The repository houses rock collections of U.S. scientists from Antarctica and the Arctic, along with associated materials such as field notes, annotated air photos and maps, raw analytic data, paleomagnetic cores, ground rock and mineral residues, thin sections, and microfossil mounts, microslides and residues. 

b)   The USPRR is a 4200 sq/ft building containing 12’ high storage shelving racks that can be converted into movable shelving when the first storage units are full. Approximately 70,000 samples can be stored with the current shelving.  Samples may be examined in a layout area equipped with tables, weighing scales, ethernet connections, etc. A work area/conference room, equipped with a microscope and attached digital camera, light table, PC computer, printer, scanner, polar books and maps may also be used by visitors. Other laboratory facilities, if needed, are available in Scott Hall, as well as in the Department of Geological Sciences. A rock preparation room is also on site to cut specimens. During sample examination, a curatorial staff member will be responsible for retrieving and re-shelving requested samples.  There is no charge for on-site examination of samples and/or accompanying data i.e. petrographic thin sections, photograph and map collections etc.  The policies described here for use of samples have been established by the United States Polar Rock Repository Steering Committee.


2)      Sample Donation Guidelines

a)  The USPRR welcomes donations of scientifically valuable polar rock collections and any supporting material.  Someone interested in donating samples to the repository should first contact the Curator about the appropriateness of their collection for this facility.  Donors are responsible for entering their sample data into a pre-designed Excel spreadsheet (obtained from the USPRR curator) or by providing field notebooks or locality index cards to the curator, before shipping their rock collections to the repository. Funds are available to cover shipping costs of the specimens to the repository.  Rock samples will not be accepted by the USPRR until they have been entered into an Excel file or until the donor has provided the field notebooks (copies), or locality index cards, with the sample information to the repository. Although not required, additional data, such as chemical analyses, thin sections, structural data, maps, photos, etc., adding scientific value to the donated materials, are requested by the USPRR.  The donor, upon receipt of the rocks by the USPRR, relinquishes all exclusive claims to use and control of the donated materials.


3)      Sample Distribution Policy Guidelines

a)      Use of a portion of rock sample for analysis will be granted only by submitting a sample request form to the Sample Allocation Committee for approval.  This committee will decide if the request is reasonable and determine the amount of sample to be provided in order to achieve the desired goals of the requester without compromising loss of too much material for future use.  Scientists from other countries who are not directly collaborating with a US investigator must also submit a Sample Request form but will be assessed a fee to cover administrative costs, shipping and handling.  The fee will be based on the number, weight and volume of samples to be shipped. Final costs will be emailed to the requester for approval prior to sample shipment from the USPRR.  Researchers are encouraged to visit the Polar Rock Repository to examine samples and associated materials.

b)      Donor thin section collections, ground rock and mineral residues, microfossil mounts, microslides and residues will be available for study only at the repository unless there are duplicates or large quantities.  

4)      Sample Request Procedures:

a)  The Sample Request form is located on the USPRR web site.  Users can search for samples based on rock name, location, collector, and lithology.  The request form should be sent to the Curator who will forward it to the Sample Allocation Committee. Requests for samples from type localities, logistically remote outcrops or sites of special scientific interest (wherein new rock sample collection is restricted) will receive additional assessment by the SAC. Typically, no more than approximately 75% percent of the available sample will be released to any investigator. 

b) Requests for samples should clearly describe the proposed scientific investigation and demonstrate a valid need for the samples. All requests must include the following information:

i)        Name, title, and affiliation of the investigator

ii)       Names and addresses of collaborators involved with the requested samples

iii)     Funding agency for the proposed research, if applicable.

iv)     Summary of proposed research including analytical methods to be used and objectives

v)      The request should include detailed information about the ability of the borrower to perform the analyses proposed. This should include information about laboratory facilities and funding to cover the analytical costs.

vi)     Sample ID number of requested specimen

vii)   Mass or volume of sample (s) needed

viii)  Identifying special handling or storage needs

ix)     In the event that subsequent material is needed, follow-up requests should outline the progress of the study and verify the need for additional material.


c)  NSF investigators must contact the Curator prior to submission of proposals if samples from the USPRR are being requested as part of a proposed project.  The Curator and Sample Allocation Committee (SAC) will assess the availability of the requested samples prior to proposal submission. The Curator can provide documentation to the PI stating that material exists at the USPRR if the investigator wishes to include this in the proposal submission.


5)      Investigator Responsibilities:

a)  All scientists who receive samples and/or data from USPRR must:

i)        Email that the requested samples arrived safely.

ii)       Submit a progress report to the Curator outlining the status of the samples and/or data no later than 18 months after receiving them.

iii)     Provide data obtained by analyzing USPRR samples within 3 years of acquiring the sample(s).

iv)     Provide a final report to the Curator after 3 years. A reprint of a published manuscript will fulfill this obligation.

v)      Samples may not be transferred to or examined by other investigators without prior approval from the Curator.

vi)     All unused samples must be returned to the USPRR within 3 years for re-archiving and future use by other investigators.


6)      Publication Policy

a)  All users of the USPRR must: 

i)        Acknowledge the USPRR in any proposal or publication using the following wording:  “This research used samples and/or data provided by the United States Polar Rock Repository (USPRR).  USPRR is sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation.”

ii)       Acknowledge the original collector of the sample(s).

iii)     Include the “United States Polar Rock Repository” as key words provided to the journal or book publisher of a manuscript using any USPRR samples or data.

iv)     Provide to the repository library, one reprint of any published paper that used information obtained from USPRR for the repository library.


7)      Sample Requests for Educational Use and Public Display Guidelines

a)  If there are abundant rock samples from a geologic or stratigraphic unit in the collection, educators may request samples for teaching.  The educator must fill out the Sample Request Form to be reviewed by the SAC.  The use of any material would be considered a loan to the school and would have to be returned after 1 year.  The school would be required to sign a loan agreement with the USPRR.

b) Rock Samples may also be available for public display and requests to borrow such samples should be sent to the Curator for review by the SAC.  Sample requests should include the description, location, purpose and security of the display as well as the duration of the display.   The Curator must also have all contact information and the name of the person responsible for the samples in the display. All public displays must include acknowledgement of the USPRR and the National Science Foundation.  The borrowing institution would be required to sign a loan agreement with the USPRR.


8)      USPRR Responsibilities:


a)  Curator

i)        The USPRR Curator keeps a record of all rock samples and accompanying sample information in the repository.  All samples have barcode labels to facilitate with sample tracking. The repository sample record also includes the names of researchers who have received samples, the reason for the sample request and the amount of sample taken.  Sample request information will not be publicly available until 3 years have passed from acquiring a requested sample. 

ii)       All sample requests will be sent to the Curator who will assess them for completeness and for adherence to the sample request policy.  The Curator will then pass on the sample request to the Sample Allocation Committee. 


b) Sample Allocation Committee

i)        After the first year of operation, a Sample Allocation Committee will be made to evaluate all sample requests.  This committee will be made up of three polar geologists. The SAC will serve 3 year terms with one person rotating on/off each year. The first SAC will serve a 3 year term with one person rotating off each year after the first 3 years.  The SAC will base their decision upon the amount of sample material available and the difficulty of obtaining new material.  Approval of sample requests requires a majority of the SAC.  The requester may appeal a declined request to the Curatorial Advisory Board (see below). 


c)  Curatorial Advisory Board

i)        The Curatorial Advisory Board (CAB) is a standing body that is made up of 3 members of the polar earth science community who will serve four-year terms that overlap by two years. Members of the CAB cannot be part of the SAC at the same time. The Curatorial Advisory Board will be established after the Steering Committee has finished their role.  The function of the CAB is to:

(a)    Provide recommendations to the Curator for repository improvements.

(b)   Make recommendations to the Ohio State University on behalf of the USPRR.

(c)    Act as an “appeals board” with the authority to make final decisions regarding sample distribution if an appeal has been filed.  If the vote is split evenly, a decision will be made by the Division Manager of Geology and Geophysics at OPP.



Appendix A:


Curatorial Advisory Board


Rosemary Askin: Research Scientist, 1930 Bunkhouse Drive, Jackson, WY, 83001, askin@bresnan.net


David Elliot: Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, 275 Mendenhall, 125 South Oval Mall, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210;  elliot.1@osu.edu


John Goodge: Professor, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Minnesota, 1114 Kirby Dr., Heller Hall 223, Duluth, MN 55812, jgoodge@d.umn.edu


Curatorial Staff


Curator:  Anne Grunow, Byrd Polar Research Center, OSU, 108 Scott Hall, 1090 Carmack Rd., Columbus, OH  43210, grunow.1@osu.edu


Assistant Curator: Julie Codispoti, Byrd Polar Research Center, OSU, 108 Scott Hall, 1090 Carmack Rd., Columbus, OH  43210, codospoti.8@osu.edu