Frequently Asked Questions for COMPADRE & COMADRE:

Q. Do I need to write a proposal to access data from COMPADRE and/or COMADRE?

No. COMPADRE and COMADRE are completely open-source, meaning anyone can download and access the data. However, by downloading and using COMPADRE and COMADRE, users agree to follow our Data User Agreement and How to Cite guidelines.

Q. Do I have to login to access data?

No. Data is accessible without a login using the COMPADRE and COMADRE download pages. Users are encouraged to register to remain informed of future version releases, workshops, and other crucial updates.

Q. If I decide to register, how are my credentials saved internally?

User credentials like name and email address are stored in our user database, and passwords are encrypted using a one-way hash algorithm. User credentials are used within COM(P)ADRE for communication purposes only.

Q. What if the piece of information I am looking for is not in the database?

Our main goal is to provide matrix population models and the metadata pertaining to them. These metadata are, as a rule, only included if they are necessary to interpret the matrices correctly. Therefore, we routinely include geographical location information and time of data collection. Other variables, which admittedly may be interesting, are not included since they take resources away from our core mission. Other databases already available--or developed by interested users in the future--may, down the road, interact with COMPADRE and COMADRE.

Q. I have this exciting research idea. How do I avoid potential overlaps with on-going projects?

COMPADRE and COMADRE are open-source databases. We have no knowledge of what kinds of research are being carried out with them. As with any other areas of science, it is up to the user to decide when, how, and with whom you share the details of your ongoing research. We welcome PDF copies of publications that make use of the databases to highlight in the portal; send us your publications at, and we’ll list them in our quarterly newsletter as well as highlight them on social media.

Q. I have spotted an error, what should I do?

Please contact us here with “Typo” in the subject line to let us know so we can correct the problem. Typos (either accidentally introduced by us or from the source material) will be tracked in the variable “Observations” for each matrix, individually, between various versions. The release of a fixed matrix or other piece of information will coincide with our periodic version release.

Q. How should I acknowledge access to COMPADRE and COMADRE and cite the database?

Find details about citing the COMPADRE and COMADRE databases in our How to Cite guidelines.

Q. How do I contribute to COMPADRE and/or COMADRE with demographic information?

If you come across matrices that are not in COMPADRE or COMADRE or have matrices of your own you’d like to contribute, please send the PDF/ancillary files with an explanatory note to

Additionally, we’re adding a new website feature in 2020 to allow registered users to contribute their own matrix data.

Q. How and where do I find all the information that is being archived in COMPADRE and in COMADRE?

The data digitization protocol details the full archiving process for new data added to COMPADRE and COMADRE, and the user guide covers data structure and variables. Species or studies for whose information is in the process of being added to the database can be found here.

Q. How do I find the citations that were used to archive the information in COMPADRE?

This information can be found in the metadata associated with each matrix in the COMPADRE and COMADRE R objects and is also available on the web pages for the matrices. We provide DOI and ISBN when available to us. Due to copyright limitations, we are unable to provide the actual publications from which data were acquired.

Q. How often is COMPADRE and COMADRE updated online?

New data is added to the database on an ongoing basis. Versions are released every month and numbered in the following format: X.YY.MM.Z where X indicates the major version, YY indicates the two-digit release year, MM indicates the release month (1-12), and Z indicates inter-release patches to the databases.

Q. How are COMPADRE and COMADRE funded?

Current and past funding sources can be found here. COMPADRE and COMADRE are provided as a community resource with no funding for individual projects.

Q. How do I search for and extract the information I need?

The files made available in COMPADRE and COMADRE are subsettable and analyzable through a number of basic programs and programming languages (e.g. R, MatLab, python, C++, etc). On our GitHub page, users can find information about our R package, Rcompadre. In addition, we routinely run workshops on comparative demography using COMPADRE and COMADRE data. Check out our blog and social media page for updates.

Q. What has COMPADRE and COMADRE been used for up to now?

Researchers continue to publish papers using COMPADRE and COMADRE data. If you have published using these resources, please let us know at so we can highlight your work in our newsletter updates and on social media.

Q. What are future plans for COMPADRE & COMADRE?

New data is continuously added to the databases, and new versions are released periodically. We continue to update the Rcompadre package, and new website features are planned for mid-to-late 2020.

My question is not above, what do I do? Send us your question using our online form.