What is ISRaD?

ISRaD is an open community repository for soil radiocarbon data.

Our goals are:

  • To improve the use of radiocarbon as a constraint for understanding the soil carbon cycle
  • To provide a place for researchers to contribute their soil radiocarbon data once published (i.e. datasets with a DOI)
  • To produce tools to make the repository useful

ISRaD has been developed as a collaboration between the U.S. Geological Survey Powell Center and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, with support from U.S. Department of Agriculture.


We are continually adding new data and improving our code. Both ISRaD data and code are hosted under version control on github: https://github.com/International-Soil-Radiocarbon-Database/ISRaD .


The database is described in detail in the following publication from the core ISRaD group:

  • Lawrence, C. R., Beem-Miller, J., Hoyt, A. M., Monroe, G., Sierra, C. A., Stoner, S., Heckman, K., Blankinship, J. C., Crow, S. E., McNicol, G., Trumbore, S., Levine, P. A., Vindušková, O., Todd-Brown, K., Rasmussen, C., Hicks Pries, C. E., Schädel, C., McFarlane, K., Doetterl, S., Hatté, C., He, Y., Treat, C., Harden, J. W., Torn, M. S., Estop-Aragonés, C., Asefaw Berhe, A., Keiluweit, M., Della Rosa Kuhnen, Á., Marin-Spiotta, E., Plante, A. F., Thompson, A., Shi, Z., Schimel, J. P., Vaughn, L. J. S., von Fromm, S. F., and Wagai, R. (2020). An open-source database for the synthesis of soil radiocarbon data: International Soil Radiocarbon Database (ISRaD) version 1.0, Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 12, 61–76. https://doi.org/10.5194/essd-12-61-2020.

ISRaD builds on previously published compilcations of soil radiocarbon measurements but also includes data ingested from individual studies not captured by those prior efforts. The following compilation studies served as our starting point for data ingestion:

  • Mathieu, J. A., Hatté, C., Balesdent, J., & Parent, É. (2015). Deep soil carbon dynamics are driven more by soil type than by climate: a worldwide meta-analysis of radiocarbon profiles. Global Change Biology, 21(11), 4278–4292. http://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.13012

  • He, Y., Trumbore, S. E., Torn, M. S., Harden, J. W., Vaughn, L. J. S., Allison, S. D., & Randerson, J. T. (2016). Radiocarbon constraints imply reduced carbon uptake by soils during the 21st century. Science, 355(6306), 1419–1424. http://doi.org/10.1126/science.aad4273

Prior to ingenstion of data included in these past efforts we fixed a number of errors, added missing data, and verified DOIs for all original source studies. Please also see the Credits page for a full list of all original data sources included in the current version of ISRaD.

Terms of Use and Citing ISRaD

Anyone may share or adapt the ISRaD dataset, provided they do so in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License, also referred to as CC BY. In addition, we strongly encourage ISRaD users to follow two simple guidelines for use:

  1. When utilizing the resources provided by ISRaD, including the complete dataset, individually curated entries, or value-added calculations included in the R-package, users should cite the source publication (Lawrence, et al. 2019, citation given above) and reference the version of ISRaD data that was used for their work (e.g. ISRaD_data_v1.2.3.2020-01-30). Additionally, if users leverage individual data entries from the database, they should also cite the original source dataset and/or paper.

  2. When users interpret their own data in the context of data accessed from ISRaD, they should submit those new data for inclusion in ISRaD after they have published their results and/or obtained a DOI for their dataset.

Getting involved

To contribute data, please visit the Contribute page.

If you are interested in contributing to the development of the ISRaD R package or website, please contact info.israd@gmail.com or make a pull request to our github repository.

Please report issues (data, code, etc.) by posting to the ISRaD issues page on github.

Steering committee

The steering committee provides scientific leadership for the project and sets the main goals and vision. The ISRaD steering committe includes:

  • Corey Lawrence, US Geological Survey
  • Sue Trumbore, Max Planck Institute
  • Alison Hoyt, Max Planck Institute
  • Carlos Sierra, Max Planck Institute
  • Joseph Blankenship, University of Arizona
  • Susan Crow, University of Hawaii
  • Katherine Heckman, US Forest Service


Contributors are individuals who contribute data and code for the database. Current contributors to include:

  • Corey Lawrence
  • Susan Trumbore
  • Jennifer Harden
  • Christine Hatte
  • Alison Hoyt
  • Jeffrey Beem-Miller
  • Grey Monroe
  • Paul Levine
  • Shane Stoner
  • Olga Vinduskova
  • Karis McFarlane
  • Caitlin Hicks-Pries
  • Kathe Todd-Brown
  • USGS Powell Center group


Maintainers are in charge of the integrity of the code. Currently, they are:

  • Grey Monroe
  • Carlos Sierra
  • Alison Hoyt
  • Shane Stoner
  • Jeffrey Beem-Miller (R package maintainer)
  • Corey Lawrence

Expert Reviewers

Expert reviewers review all data submitted to ISRaD. Currently, they are:

  • Sophie von Fromm
  • Jeffrey Beem-Miller
  • Kate Heckman
  • Olga Vinduskova
  • Gavin McNicol
  • Karis MacFarlane
  • Alison Hoyt
  • Shane Stoner
  • Corey Lawrence


Data from ISRaD will be regularly ingested into the International Soil Carbon Network


Please direct any comments, concerns, or suggestions to: info.israd@gmail.com.