About Sources, Citation, and Confidential Datasets

Sep 27th, 2023

Where Does the Data in the ecoinvent Database Come From? 

There are multiple paths through which data can find their way into the ecoinvent database; in all cases, ecoinvent obtains the right to non-exclusively publish the data, but the data creator remain the data owner. 

The largest part of our inventory datasets is generated in data collection projects dedicated to specific economic sectors and countries or regions. To realize these projects, we commonly collaborate with external partners around the globe who have the local, sectorial and methodological expertise, such as research institutes, academia, consultancies or industry associations. Our team also supports individual researchers or companies who directly approach us with data they would like to publish in ecoinvent. Finally, some projects are carried out internally by our small team of LCA experts. 

Accordingly, also the sources our data relies on are diverse. Where possible, our external partners will provide primary data for example from field visits or interviews. Secondary data are preferably sourced from publicly available statistics, peer-reviewed scientific literature and databases complemented with other public (industry) data such as company reports, emission registers etc. 

Regardless the type of data collection, all datasets undergo a thorough review from both internal and independent external experts to ensure they fulfill ecoinvent quality and transparency requirements, before they are published in the database.

How to Cite the use of the ecoinvent Database? 

Citation for the ecoinvent Database 

ecoinvent Version 3 

Wernet, G., Bauer, C., Steubing, B., Reinhard, J., Moreno-Ruiz, E., and Weidema, B., 2016. The ecoinvent database version 3 (part I): overview and methodology. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, [online] 21(9), pp.1218–1230. Available at: <http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s11367-016-1087-8> [Accessed DD MM YYYY]. 

ecoinvent Version 2 

Frischknecht R., Jungbluth N., Althaus H.-J., Doka G., Dones R., Heck T., Hellweg S., Hischier R., Nemecek T., Rebitzer G. and Spielmann M., 2005, The ecoinvent database: Overview and methodological framework, International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 10, 3–9. 

Recommended Citation for ecoinvent Datasets 

ecoinvent Version 3 

[Data generator and publication], [Activity Name], [Geography Shortname], system model, version of the ecoinvent database 

Nemecek, T., barley production, Swiss integrated production, extensive, CH, Allocation, cut-off by classification, ecoinvent database version 3.3 

ecoinvent Version 2 

[Data generator and publication], [Process Name], [Geography Shortname], version of the ecoinvent database 

Nemecek, T., barley grains IP, at farm, CH, ecoinvent database version 2.2 

What are Confidential Datasets? 

In rare and exceptional situations, an activity dataset that includes confidential information may be kept inaccessible as a unit process dataset while still being included in calculations of accumulated systems datasets. Confidential datasets are subject to the same Data Quality Guidelines as any other ecoinvent dataset and are reviewed on a unit process level internally, but the review procedure is performed under the direct management of the ecoinvent team. 

Most of the few confidential datasets are from older versions of the database, and in general ecoinvent aims to replace such data with transparent unit process data as soon as possible.