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What kind of requirements for data opening scientific journals’ have?

Published on 23.10.2020
Tampere Universities
OA viikko perjantai eng
Nowadays, many peer-reviewed scientific journals require that research data related to an article must be opened when the article is published.

For example, PLoS journals (Public Library of Science) demand researchers to make all data related to their research results publicly available without any restriction at the time of publication. Data opening is required in order to verify the findings and for the sake of transparency of a research. However, research ethics and legal considerations may give justified reasons for not to open the data. The core principle for data opening is responsibility: “As open as possible, as closed as necessary”. 

The journals have different types of data sharing policies. The policies may, for example, “encourage”, “expect” or “mandate” data opening. You can usually find the requirements for data opening in an author's instructions of a journal. Many major publishers have also listed on their home pages the types of data policies used in their journals (see, for example, Springer NatureTaylor & Francis, and Wiley). Often, the publishers’ data policy pages offer standard templates for the text that will appear in the "Data Availability Statement" portion of the article. The statement text indicates where and under what conditions the research data is available. 

In some cases, data set related to an article is published as a supplementary material. Such data, however, is not necessary considered as open data, if the data can only be accessed through a paywall of a subscription-based journal. Though, many publishers also accept depositing your data in a data archive and they may even give recommendations about appropriate archives.  

In data archives, the data is more genuinely available. Data archives have different kinds of terms for data usage from which a researcher can select an appropriate one for the data. The data can be fully open or subject of strict regulations. The terms of use regulate e.g. who can use the data and purpose of the use. If you are interested in finding  data archives, take a look at service. 

When creating a publishing plan, also check the journal’s data policies and think about when you want to open your data. If you need to prolong the opening of the data, set journals requiring the data opening last in the publication order. However, keep in mind that opening up data will benefit you, the research community, and at the best, the society as a whole. 

More information:  

Research Data Management -guide 

E-mail: researchdata [at] (researchdata[at]tuni[dot]fi)