Today, we released a thoroughly revised and improved version of our Submission Guidelines, making submitting to Scientific Data easier than ever before.
The process of drafting and submitting a manuscript to the journal is now organized into seven clear steps. In Step 1, we provide a simple summary of the journal’s four main content-types (Data Descriptor, Article, Analysis and Comment), so authors can be sure they have selected the most appropriate format before beginning to draft their manuscript. In the next steps, we provide detailed information on depositing data, and on drafting and submitting a manuscript to the journal. These steps focus centrally on the Data Descriptor – the journal’s main content-type and the one that differs most from formats at other journals – but we have also improved the information we provide for authors drafting other content-types.
In particular, Step 5 now asks authors to check their methods section carefully for transparency and reproducibility before submitting to the journal. As part of these guidelines we provide a “Transparent Methods Checklist” to help authors identify common reporting issues, and to ensure that their methods descriptions comply with journal policies. This is derived, in part, from a series of reproducibility checklists in use at the Nature-titled journals (see doi:10.1038/546008a & doi:10.1038/496398a), and helps bring Scientific Data in line with the best practices advocated by these journals.
By following these steps in full, authors will ensure that their submission can be sent quickly to our Editorial Board for evaluation.
Scientific Data’s data standards and formatting requirements are essential to the journal’s mission of promoting and crediting effective open-data sharing, but we also appreciate that they differ from other journals and can therefore present a learning curve for new authors. For example, we require that authors deposit their data in a trusted repository before submission, and our Data Descriptors follow a unique format that is designed to encourage transparent descriptions of datasets, without extensive interpretation. We hope that our revised submission guidelines will make submitting to the journal as straightforward as possible, for all of our authors.