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Call for submissions describing plant phenotype data

An Editorial published this week at Nature Genetics endorsed the goals of the DivSeek initiative and issued a call for wider sharing of plant phenotype data – particularly phenotypic data associated with important genetic and genomic studies. Scientific Data supports this call, and we invite researchers to submit manuscripts to our journal describing and releasing such datasets.

The DivSeek initiative aims to bring together plant researchers, breeders and gene banks to encourage sharing and effective use of crop diversity information, with the hope that this effort will accelerate research and development on crop productivity, sustainability and food security.

Nature Publishing Group recently launched Nature Plants – a new journal covering all aspects of plant science ( They similarly share a “keen interest in translational research that helps create a path to a sustainable future by addressing today’s most pressing global challenges: food security, water and land use efficiency, energy sufficiency and climate change” (see the related press release).

Building on these developments, Scientific Data is now inviting submissions of manuscripts describing and releasing plant phenotype data associated with previously published plant genetics and genomics studies. Relevant datasets may include agriculturally relevant traits (e.g. yield), molecular data (e.g. gene expression or metabolic profiles) or morphological measurements. Previous studies may have been published at one of the Nature-titled journals or other journals. Manuscripts submitted in response to this call may be eligible for inclusion in a special article collection at Scientific Data. Please contact us with a presubmission enquiry if you are interested in submitting a manuscript as part of this effort (

In parallel, the editors at Nature Genetics will be encouraging their authors to publish descriptions of their phenotypic data at Scientific Data. In their editorial, they write, “We recommend that authors of publications rich in data resources publish a data descriptor with Nature Publishing Group’s Scientific Data ( We ask peer referees of current publications to help us identify submissions that will benefit from a parallel publication describing the deposition of phenotypic data.” This Nature Genetics initiative builds on a strengthening, announced last November, of the data availability policies for Nature and the Nature research journals. These journals now explicitly encourage publication of Data Descriptors in Scientific Data alongside research articles, to help promote reproducible research and foster wider data sharing.

We will help authors who submit manuscripts find suitable repositories for their phenotypic data. When more suitable data repositories cannot be found, authors will be asked to deposit their data to either figshare or Dryad, two generalist data repositories that can store a wide range of data-types. Both repositories distribute data under the CC0 waiver, which allows unrestricted reuse. We hope this will help create a foundation of valuable open data that can be incorporated into new data sharing platforms like those envisioned by DivSeek.


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