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Data Articles

Applies to:

This page applies to researchers with a dataset that warrants to publish an accompanying scientific data article in a scientific journal.


Many research institutions and also most funding institutions provide RDM guidelines within their recommendations on data management plans and also recommend and increasingly require to set-up such plans in order to ensure that the data are archived in a FAIR way. Moreover, many funding institutions encourage or even require the publication of FAIR data.

Research data can be published in research data repositories, usually without peer-review, which makes the dataset(s) citable. Nevertheless, the value of research data itself is increasing, and may warrant a separate peer-reviewed publication in a scientific journal in its own right.

How to start

Several journals have added some form of data articles to their article types. In addition, entire journals have been created to publish data articles such as Scientific Data by Nature Research Data by MDPI or Elsevier's Research Elements journals.

The first step is to determine whether the data set(s) meet the criteria to pass the review process of the journals. In case the data shall be published in conjunction with an original research article, it has to be determined whether the editorial policy is compatible with a separate data publication. Here, the author guidelines or a brief email to the editorial contact can provide an answer.

Data articles usually consist of a manuscript describing the scientific background and a detailed description of materials and methods used, and links to one or more FAIR datasets published in a research data repositories via their PIDs. The applied quality control measures can be emphasised in the article, and potential reuse could be explained.

Together, the citable deposited FAIR dataset and the citable peer-reviewed data article give the data the credits it deserves.

Further information

Main authors: ORCID:0000-0003-4480-8661 and ORCID:0000-0002-7899-71921