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Request for comment on cross-publisher data repository guidelines

Springer Nature, the publisher of Scientific Data, has recently been working with several other publishers, brought together by FAIRsharing and DataCite, to develop a common set of guidelines that publishers could use when assessing and recommending data repositories to their authors.

We invite our readers to consider the draft article that describes the work, its motivation, and relations to other initiatives, and to provide the authors with feedback via this form. The commenting period is open until the end of January 2020. 

Since the journal’s launch in 2014, Scientific Data has provided its authors with a list of recommended repositories, to help them find the most appropriate repository for their data. Scientific Data’s repository list is mirrored for use by all Springer Nature authors, and is also shared openly at figshare for wider use by all. The repositories we recommend are selected based on the maturity, community support, long-term preservation and openness of the resources (learn more about our criteria).

See also the related blog from Varsha Khodiyar, Data Curation Manager for Scientific Data & Springer Nature on the Springer Nature Research Data Community site.

Our view is that clear and meaningful criteria for assessing public repositories are essential, and we therefore support initiatives like this one that aim to identify common principles across publishers. At the same, we would like to assure our authors and repository partners that our support for this initiative does not mean that Scientific Data will stop maintaining its own list, or that we will lower our own standards. At present there are number of ways in which Scientific Data’s criteria are stricter, or at least more specific, than these proposed cross-publisher guidelines. For example, we require that repositories offer licenses that meet common definitions of “open data” and we ask not just that repositories have a preservation plan, but that that plan is plausible and does not rely entirely on short term grant funding.

In our view, meaningful and concrete standards are necessary to build trust, especially if we want researchers to view dataset as a scholarly output that is on par with more traditional research publications.

What do you think? Get involved in the debate by sending your feedback now…


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