In October of 2014 NAL released a prototype data submission application for testing and development. In July 2015 the first production version of the submission application was released along with detailed submission guidelines. The submission application can be accessed through the LCA Commons Life Cycle Inventory database by selecting “Submit Data.” In the absence of LCA domain-wide data standards, NAL submission guidelines employ ISO, International Reference Life Cycle Data system (ILCD), and ecoinvent conventions where appropriate to provide a minimum data standard for the LCA Commons such that data function in openLCA.
NAL selected the openLCA Framework to provide a database schema for the LCA Commons LCI database because it maintains a number of tools that enable data interoperability among modeling tools. The openLCA Framework provides several data conversion tools that allow users to not only use the LCA Commons data in openLCA, but export the data for use in other modeling applications, e.g. SimaPro and GaBi. Therefore, the LCA Commons submission guidelines have been developed with data interoperability (with other databases and modeling tools) as the core principal. Preparing data to be interoperable with multiple databases, which are not designed for interoperability, adds complexity to preparing and managing data. Therefore, our submission guidelines may not be user friendly the first time you work with them.