Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Quaternary Geochronology




Elsevier BV

Publication Date



Data curation, Geochronology, Lead-210, Metadata, Radiometric dating, Radionuclide, Reproducibility, Transparency

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Last Page


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Radiometric dating methods are essential for developing geochronologies to study Late Quaternary environmental change and 210Pb dating is commonly used to produce age-depth models from recent (within 150 years) sediments and other geoarchives. The past two centuries are marked by rapid environmental socio-ecological changes frequently attributed to anthropogenic land-use activities, modified biogeochemical cycles, and climate change. Consequently, historical reconstructions over this recent time interval have high societal value because analyses of these datasets provide understanding of the consequences of environmental modifications, critical ecosystem thresholds, and to define desirable ranges of variation for management, restoration, and conservation. For this information to be used more broadly, for example to support land management decisions or to contribute data to regional analyses of ecosystem change, authors must report all of the useful age-depth model information. However, at present there are no guidelines for researchers on what information should be reported to ensure 210Pb data are fully disclosed, reproducible, and reusable; leading to a plethora of reporting styles, including inadequate reporting that reduces potential reusability and shortening the data lifecycle. For example, 64% of the publications in a literature review of 210Pb dated geoarchives did not include any presentation of age uncertainty estimates in modeled calendar ages used in age-depth models. Insufficient reporting of methods and results used in 210Pb dating geoarchives severely hampers reproducibility and data reusability, especially in analyses that make use of databased palaeoenvironmental data. Reproducibility of data is fundamental to further analyses of the number of palaeoenvironmental data and the spatial coverage of published geoarchives sites. We suggest, and justify, a set of minimum reporting guidelines for metadata and data reporting for 210Pb dates, including an IEDA (Interdisciplinary Earth Data Alliance), LiPD (Linked Paleo Data) and generic format data presentation templates, to contribute to improvements in data archiving standards and to facilitate the data requirements of researchers analyzing datasets of several palaeoenvironmental study sites. We analyse practices of methods, results and first order interpretation of 210Pb data and make recommendations to authors on effective data reporting and archiving to maximize the value of datasets. We provide empirical evidence from publications and practitioners to support our suggested reporting guidelines. These guidelines increase the scientific value of 210Pb by expanding its relevance in the data lifecycle. Improving quality and fidelity of environmental datasets broadens interdisciplinary use, lengthens the potential lifecycle of data products, and achieves requirements applicable for evidenced-based policy support.

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