Data Submission Process

The ecoinvent database includes data that originates from different sources, including companies, industrial associations and research institutes.

Feb 1st, 2024

Benefits of Submitting Data

Broad Acceptance 

Your data will become part of the most used transparent Life Cycle Inventory databases worldwide. 

Free Review

ecoivent provides the review process for free as well as coordinating and assisting data collection efforts. Through the independent review procedure carried out by the ecoinvent editorial board we ensure that all data meets our high-quality standards and in turn your data gains in credibility. 

Environmental Commitment 

Providing data to an association like ecoinvent demonstrates the environmental commitment of a company and it makes future inquiries about the sustainability standards of a company much simpler.  

Trustworthy LCIA Results 

ecoinvent is a transparent and not-for-profit database making it trustworthy source of LCI and LCIA results.  

By following the ecoinvent Data Quality Guidelines, companies gain easy access to Life Cycle Assessments of their products and supply chains.

Academic Recognition 

If you provide data to the ecoinvent database your name and contact information will be displayed in the dataset you submitted to the database.  

You are giving us the rights to publish your data in the database. You are still remaining the owner of your data and can publish it anywhere else (e.g., scientific journal, public LCA study, PhD thesis, etc.).  

Possibility to Brand Datasets 

If companies prefer to be specifically mentioned, they have the option of providing branded datasets to demonstrate the sustainability of their production.  

Unit process information may also be kept confidential by submitting datasets as restricted datasets, in which case only the cradle-to-gate results will be visible for the database users.  

Data Submission Process: Step-by-Step Guide

1. Contact ecoinvent

To submit data for the ecoinvent database, first contact our technical team stating your name, organization, and information about the type of datasets for submission.   

An exchange with one of our technical team members will follow regarding detailed information about the datasets. Once this discussion takes place, the ecoinvent team member initiates a discussion between the data provider and the appropriate editor to define the appropriate place of the new datasets in the ecoinvent database.  

2. Create Submission File 

Data providers must then gather the necessary data, including process inputs, outputs, and emissions. ecoinvent datasets should be consistent, transparent, and available on a unit process level.  
  
As an author of a dataset, data providers can then download the free ecoEditor Software from the ecoinvent website to create the submission file.  

The data collection process needs to be documented. The dataset documentation is required to include all literature sources.  

During this process, you are supported by the online documentation (available in the Database section), a Dataset Documentation Manual, the Data Quality Guidelines and ecoinvent editors.  

The ecoEditor can be directly used to submit the dataset to the ecoinvent database. Copyright remains with the author; data are only submitted with the non-exclusive right to use. 

3. Free Editorial Process 

The dataset is first reviewed by an independent expert in the corresponding field to ensure the quality and check for errors or inconsistencies within the dataset.  

Subsequently, at least two cross-cutting editors review the dataset for consistency with the rest of the database. For example, there are editors for specific data fields, emission types, and countries and regions.  

Comments and requests for corrections are directly loaded in the author’s ecoEditor, where they can be viewed and answered case by case.  

Once all editors are satisfied, the dataset is accepted for publication.

4. Post-Acceptance

The dataset will be included in the next release of the ecoinvent database, where it will be used by thousands of sustainability experts.   

You will be visible as the author in the dataset and can remain an “active author”, meaning that interested users may contact you with questions or suggestions. 

Dataset Requirements 

The main objective of the ecoinvent database is to be a reliable and transparent source of background Life Cycle Inventory data.

To fulfill these requirements, all submissions should include a description of a unit process, usually understood to be an independent process or activity that transforms a given input into an output of products or services. Unit processes are, for example, the growing of crops from seeds, transporting a good from one place to another, synthesizing a chemical from different inputs, constructing a building, or treating wastewater.  

As the ecoinvent database is primarily used as a background database, submissions should usually aim to be average technology descriptions of activities for a given area – e.g. copper production in a certain country – instead of representing only a single production site. Note that single-site conditions may sometimes be used to approximate the average situation if that is judged to be acceptable. 

Transfer of Rights 

Submitters will be asked to grant ecoinvent the non-exclusive right to use the dataset during the submission process. All copyrights to the submitted data remain with the authors of the dataset.

The exact text of this agreement follows: 

“I confirm to hold the copyright to the uploaded data and to be entitled to dispose of these copyrights. I hereby transfer the non-exclusive right of use of the uploaded data to the ecoinvent for publication in the ecoinvent database, including but not limited to the right to publish, republish, transmit, sell, distribute, modify, change, complete and otherwise use the contributed dataset in electronic and print form and in derivative works throughout the world, in all languages, and to license or permit others to do so. This transfer of non-exclusive right of use cannot be withdrawn without a full payment of compensation to the ecoinvent to cover damages or a replacement of the withdrawn data. I maintain the right to use the transferred data for my own scientific work as well as to use it with third parties on a non-exclusive basis, including for commercial purposes.” 

Possibility to Brand Datasets 

If companies prefer to be specifically mentioned, they have the option of providing branded datasets to demonstrate the sustainability of their production.  

Unit process information may also be kept confidential by submitting datasets as restricted datasets, in which case only the cradle-to-gate results will be visible for the database users.