Missing value reporting

The International Nucleotide Database Collaboration (INSDC) have developed a standardised missing/null value reporting language to be used where a value of an expected format for sample metadata reporting can not be provided. The controlled vocabulary takes into account different type of constraints. Submitters are strongly encouraged to always provide true values of expected formats. However, if missing/null value reporting is required submitters are asked to use a term with the finest granularity for their reported situation. To facilitate an understanding of the supported terms we enclose a table with the missing/null value terms and their definitions.


INSDC missing value reporting terms


INSDC term (top level) INSDC term (lower level) Definition
not applicable   information is inappropriate to report, can indicate that the standard itself fails to model or represent the information appropriately
missing not collected information of an expected format was not given because it has not been collected
not provided information of an expected format was not given, a value may be given at the later stage
restricted access information exists but can not be released openly because of privacy concerns


Usage of INSDC missing value reporting terms

Please use the above standardised missing value vocabulary only if a true value of an expected format for a mandatory field is missing. If a true value is missing for a recommended or an optional field then these fields should not be used for reporting at all. For any use cases we discuurage the usage of the top level term 'missing' and encourage to use a lower level term with a higher granularity to declare the reason for the absence of a true value.

Example of usage:

Checklist: ENA Influenza (http://www.ebi.ac.uk/ena/submit/checklists)
host sex: not provided
geographic location (country and/or sea): restricted access