NPG to launch Scientific Data to help scientists publish and reuse research data

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) today is pleased to announce the Spring 2014 launch of Scientific Data. Open for submissions this autumn, Scientific Data is a new open-access, online-only platform for the publication of descriptions of scientifically valuable datasets. Scientific Data will initially focus on experimental datasets from the life, biomedical and environmental science communities with future plans to expand to other fields in the natural sciences.

Scientific Data will introduce and publish a new type of content called Data Descriptors: peer-reviewed, scientific publications that provide detailed descriptions of experimental and observational datasets. Data Descriptors will be a combination of traditional scientific publication content and structured information curated in-house, and are designed to maximize reuse and enable searching, linking and data mining. Data Descriptors may be associated with articles from a broad range of journals.

“Over recent years researchers, funders and learned societies alike have been calling for new ways to make scientific research, and research data, more available, reusable and reproducible,” says Jason Wilde, Nature Publishing Group Business Development Director. “Scientific Data’s central mission is to help foster the sharing and re-use of the data underpinning scientific research.”

“Scientific Data will allow for the formal peer-review, publication and citation of data sets and will provide a real opportunity to promote open data and promote the re-use of data held by NERC and other research organisations,” says Mark Thorley, Head of Science Information at the Natural Environment Research Council and Chair of the Research Councils UK Research Outputs Network.

Scientific Data gives credit through a citable publication, for depositing and sharing research data. Data Description will be accessible and searchable via the Scientific Data online data platform, under a Creative Commons license. The actual data files will be stored in one or more public, community-recognized systems. The full release of Data Description and associated data will be verified as part of the peer-review process. Where a community recognized repository does not exist, Scientific Data supports the deposit of the data into a more general repository such as Dryad and Figshare. All accepted data descriptors will be published on payment of an article-processing charge (APC) that will also cover the Data Description curation process.

Susanna-Assunta Sansone, Associate Director and Principal Investigator at the University of Oxford e-Research Centre, has worked with the NPG team for the past months to define the Data Description’s concept; she has now been appointed Honorary Academic Editor of Scientific Data. She will work closely with the Advisory Panel which is comprised of senior scientists, data repository representatives, bio-curators, librarians, and funders who guide the policies, standards, and editorial scope.

“The ongoing conversation around data curation, sharing and publication has become increasingly exciting as various organisations have moved to encourage and in some cases support the sharing and reuse of data in context,” says Honorary Academic Editor Sansone. “To inform the internal development of Scientific Data, I will continue to stay abreast of the fast-paced fields of data management and scholarly communication.”