Data Governance Policy (October 2017)

This Data Governance Statement sets out the values of the GROW Observatory to do with handling and sharing data.

We are committed to being both transparent about what you can do with your data and what we can do with it. You are entitled to know what data we store and why. If we have not made our data governance statement clear then we will endeavour to clarify it as soon as possible.

Your data and privacy

Your privacy and security are important to us, both in terms of the data we store from your interaction with our website, and for the data we store for you.

When you interact with GROW, we may receive three kinds of data from you, as listed below.

  • Your account information: such as your username and email address. We will never publish your email address or share this with third-parties without your explicit consent. You may delete your account at any time, at which point we will stop collecting any new information from you, and will, at your request, exclude your scientific data contributions from any future derived data products. We will also remove your personal information from our systems.
  • Your discussion and media contributions: such as forum posts, images and documents. When you make posts into any public forum, your username will be publicly associated with your post, and the contents of the post will be available online. We will respect any requests for removal of discussion posts you have made.
  • Scientific data: which may include any soil, plant, yield, land use and cultivation practice related data you collect as part of GROW experiments and activities, and data from the sensor we may send you. See below for more details of how we handle scientific data.

In addition, we may also record information when your web browser or device interacts with our website and services, as part of our log files and analytics.

Personal data security is the responsibility of the University of Dundee as lead partner in the GROW Observatory. All personal data collected and stored will meet EU guidelines and University guidelines. The GROW platform uses a secure connection for exchange of usernames and passwords and passwords are stored encrypted in our system. We will endeavour to keep your data secure and only allow third party access to the data on the terms set out in this document. Your data is stored by the following GROW Consortium members:

GROW Consortium MemberServer Location(s)Server Company
FutureEverythingUK, IrelandLinode, AWS
IIASAGermany, FinlandHetzner
University of DundeeUKMicrosoft

Scientific data

The scientific data you contribute from sensors and surveys including location is licensed by you to GROW, a non-profit entity. We will store raw copies of the scientific data, metadata and sensor data you have contributed, associated with your username, and at the level of accuracy it is given to us at. We will store the raw data in secured databases located in secure datacentres in a durable fashion for the length of time this project runs, and for five years following the end of the project, in order to meet our obligations to data policies of the European Commission.

You can access an archive copy of your raw scientific data at any time.

We will produce a low-resolution open dataset (aggregating information to remove granular location or sensor data that could otherwise be used to identify you or your land) and commit to providing this as a freely accessible dataset, available to anyone, under a share-alike license.

You can set your disclosure preferences for the granularity of scientific data that we can share with other platforms, including by:

  • Controlling the accuracy of any geolocation data shared about you or your sensors.
  • Controlling the visibility of other metadata.
  • Controlling the level of aggregation of sensor data. For example, to set how many readings in a particular time frame other users can see, such as only allowing one-reading per hour to be shared.

We may also use the raw data you have contributed to create aggregations, visualisations and to use the data in predictive models. Any summary published as a result of this will respect your disclosure preferences.

We also reserve the right to license scientific data under commercial terms, and provide access under those terms to the raw data, bespoke aggregations, visualisations and summary data sets, provided this does not reveal data to the commercial provider, or publicly, at a level of granularity lower than your stated preferences.

You can request removal of your scientific data from the platform at any time but you should be aware that this will only affect data products created in future, and will not lead to data being removed from existing derived data products. To make this request, confirm by email to with your sensor id number. If you do so, you will need to return your sensor to GROW at your own cost.

Our Data Management Plan outlines how we store and use data and ensures we maintain standards that meet EU data storage requirements.


You can terminate your account with us at any time. When you do so you can archive your scientific data, delete it or leave it with us. If you choose to leave it with us you can still ask us to delete it at any time. If your data has been used to create applications, visualisations or any interactive or explorative datasets, then your data will not be removed. However your data will not be included in any updates to these if it has been removed from our system.

Changes to this policy

We review our policy each year up to 2020 with the GROW citizen forum. You will be notified to the email address registered to us if this policy changes in any way. You will have 30 days from notification to either terminate your account, or you will be deemed to have accepted the updated policy.

Contact us

GROW Observatory,
University of Dundee,
DD1 4HN,

01382 388722,

Definition of terms

  • High-resolution data - the most detailed and disaggregated datasets, created from participant contributions, sensors and surveys.
  • Personally identifying information - data which may be used to identify a particular individual, or to link an individual to particular observations in a dataset.
  • Sensitive data - data which, if disclosed, risks causing harm to individuals, organisations or habitats.
  • Anonymised data - data which has had all personally identifying information removed.
  • Aggregated data - data which has been summarised to group together individual observations, often grouping observations into larger geographic areas or time-periods. Aggregation is one method of anonymising data.
  • GROW Consortium - the partners who work together to build and deliver the GROW Observatory. These are: University of Dundee; Internationales Institut fuer Angewandte Systemanalyse; Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations; Met Office; Hydrologic Research BV; Starlab Barcelona SL; Future Everything CIC; Sustainable Ireland Co-operative Society Ltd; Culturepolis; James Hutton Institute; Technische Universitaet Wien; Thingful Ltd; Institut d’Arquitectura Avancada de Catalunya; Storythings Ltd; Miskolci Egytetem; Forest Trust LBG; Permaculture Association (Britain).

Contributor License Agreement:

Thank you for your interest in contributing to the GROW Observatory ("We" or "Us").

This contributor agreement ("Agreement") documents the rights granted by contributors to Us. This is a legally binding document, so please read it carefully before agreeing to it.

I assign to the GROW Observatory a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free, irrevocable license to the content and data I have submitted, either directly through the GROW website and applications, or from sensors I have connected to the platform,

I understand that:

  • Data, including sensor data, that I contribute will be stored and used by the project to provide crucial information for growers, policy makers and science exploitation that help build improved models on the impact of climate change and land use responses. The GROW Consortium and UoD will archive, share and re-use anonymised data for future research and innovation activities.
  • Aggregated, anonymised data will be made available for a wide range of uses under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial license;
  • The GROW consortium may provide secure access to raw/disaggregated data to commercial partners, subject to approval by the Directors of the GROW Consortium, and subject to the disclosure preferences set in the platform;
  • The University of Dundee and GROW Consortium will store my data in accordance with EU regulations and in accordance with UoD research ethics guidelines.
  • The GROW consortium and University of Dundee (UoD) will store the following anonymised data: your username; contributions to the GROW Forum and data from your sensor and measurements.

[Any licensed access to project data for commercial use will be subject to approval of the Directors of the GROW Consortium and will only be approved where clear benefits to society are accrued and no profit is accrued by the licence.]

I confirm that I have the legal authority to enter into this Agreement.

This agreement and any dispute or claim (including non-contractual disputes or claims) arising out of or in connection with it or its subject matter or formation shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales.