PRR Policy for Sample Donation, Distribution, and Publication


  1. Introduction
  2. Sample Donation Guidelines
  3. Deaccession
  4. Sample Distribution Policy Guidelines
  5. Sample Request Procedures
  6. Investigator Responsibilities
  7. Publication Policy
  8. Sample Requests for Educational Use and Public Display
  9. PRR Responsibilities
  10. Curatorial Advisory Board
  11. Appendix A: Contact Information: Curator


The 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.  The PRR 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.

Sample Donation Guidelines

The PRR 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 PRR 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 PRR 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 PRR.  The donor, upon receipt of the rocks by the PRR, relinquishes all exclusive claims to use and control of the donated materials.


Samples will be deaccessioned from the PRR when more than 25 kg exists from the same sample site, unless the samples are from areas designated as sites of special scientific interest, are from 'Type' localities that are difficult to access or from locations that no longer are available for sampling. The best 25 kg will be preserved. Deaccessioned samples will be made available, at no cost, to the Educational and Research communities. When deaccessioned samples are available, information will be available on the PRR website under the 'Samples' tab.

Sample Distribution Policy Guidelines

  1. Use of a portion of rock sample for analysis will be granted only by submitting a sample request form to the Curator. Researchers are encouraged to visit the Polar Rock Repository to examine samples and associated materials.
  2. 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.

Sample Request Procedures

The Sample Request form is located on the PRR web site.  Users can search for samples based on rock name, location, collector, and lithology.  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. Typically, no more than 80% of the available sample will be released to any investigator.  If sample destruction is anticipated, the loaned sample will usually not exceed 70% of the available material. 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:

  1. Name, title, and affiliation of the investigator
  2. Names and addresses of collaborators involved with the requested samples
  3. Funding agency for the proposed research, if applicable
  4. Summary of proposed research including analytical methods to be used and objectives. 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. 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. 
  5. NSF investigators must contact the Curator prior to submission of proposals if samples from the PRR are being requested as part of a proposed project.  The Curator can provide documentation to the PI stating that material exists at the PRR if the investigator wishes to include this in the proposal submission.

Investigator Responsibilities:

All scientists who receive samples and/or data from PRR must:

  1. Email that the requested samples arrived safely.
  2. Submit a progress report to the Curator outlining the status of the samples and/or data no later than 18 months after receiving them.
  3. Provide data obtained by analyzing PRR samples within 3 years of acquiring the sample(s).
  4. Provide a final report to the Curator after 3 years. A reprint of a published manuscript will fulfill this obligation.
  5. Samples may not be transferred to or examined by other investigators without prior approval from the Curator.
  6. All unused samples must be returned to the PRR within 3 years for re-archiving and future use by other investigators.

Publication Policy

All users of the PRR must:

  1. Acknowledge the PRR in any proposal or publication. If you utilize any PRR samples, database or photo archive information in conducting your research, please acknowledge the PRR and the National Science Foundation.
    This material is based on services provided by the Polar Rock Repository with support from the National Science Foundation, under Cooperative Agreement OPP-1643713.
  2. Acknowledge the original collector of the sample(s).
  3. Include the “Polar Rock Repository” as key words provided to the journal or book publisher of a manuscript using any PRR samples or data.
  4. Provide to the repository library, one reprint of any published paper that used information obtained from PRR for the repository library.

The following citation may be used when referring to samples or materials from the PRR:

The Polar Rock Repository (PRR), Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center (BPCRC), Ohio State University: Polar rock and dredge samples available for research and educational use from the PRR. doi:10.7289/V5RF5S18 [date of access]

Sample Requests for Educational Use and Public Display Guidelines

  1. 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 PRR.
  2. Rock Samples may also be available for public display and requests to borrow such samples should be sent to the Curator for review.  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 PRR and the National Science Foundation.  The borrowing institution would be required to sign a loan agreement with the PRR.

PRR Responsibilities

The 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.  All sample requests will be sent to the Curator who will assess them for completeness and for adherence to the sample request policy.

Curatorial Advisory Board

The Curatorial Advisory Board (CAB) is a standing body that is made up of 5 members of the polar earth science community who will serve 2 year terms. The function of the CAB is to:Provide recommendations to the Curator for repository improvements, make recommendations to the Ohio State University on behalf of the PRR, and act as an “appeals board” with the authority to make final decisions regarding sample distribution if an appeal has been filed.

Appendix A

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