The Data Portal and the neonUtilities R package are being updated to default to downloading only data from the most recent Data Release. Provisional data, which are subject to change without notice, will still be accessible, but will be downloaded on an opt-in basis, rather than opt-out.
To balance the needs for timely data publication and reproducibility, NEON initially publishes new data as Provisional, and annually generates a formal Data Release for each data product. The Provisional data may be updated or reprocessed at any time. Data Releases will not change and each Product Release is tagged with a DOI. For further details about the Provisional and Release data process, see the web page for Data Product Revisions and Releases.
Wherever possible, NEON encourages users to run their analyses with Released data. Data product Releases can be cited with their DOIs and are unchanging over time, greatly improving reproducibility. However, some analyses rely on access to the most recent data possible (such as forecasting), and in those cases the increased uncertainty associated with Provisional data is an acceptable trade-off. If you must use Provisional data, we recommend storing a version in a repository to accompany any scientific products generated with these data.
This will be a breaking change for some neonUtilities downloads. Download function calls that previously returned Provisional data will return only Released data unless the function call is modified. In the neonUtilities R package download functions, the new
include.provisional input parameter defaults to FALSE. Add include.provisional=TRUE to the function call to access Provisional data.
This change is planned to appear on the Data Portal and in the CRAN release of neonUtilities in the second half of October. This timeline may be adjusted depending on software release dependencies. We will provide another post once these features are live.