The Impact on Authors and Editors of Introducing Data Availability Statements at Nature Journals

Data availability statements (DASs) offer information within a journal article on where the data supporting the results of that article can be found and whether and how those can be accessed.

In 2016, we adopted a standard policy for the inclusion of DASs in all research articles that are published in the Nature family of journals. This week, we published an article summarising further research that we’ve undertaken that takes a closer look at the effects that policy has had on authors, editors, and the availability of datasets. The article “The Impact on Authors and Editors of Introducing Data Availability Statements at Nature Journals” discusses the methodology and findings of that research.

Our research aimed to provide insights into the additional time it takes editors and production staff to add availability data statements to manuscripts and to evaluate the ways by which researchers chose to make their data available.

So what did we find? The study demonstrated that adding mandatory DASs to all accepted articles in journals operated by professional editors has an impact on the journal publication workflow and manuscript processing times. Assessing the additional effort required has allowed us to put appropriate support in place for editors, as we encourage further journals to require authors to include a DAS.

We saw disciplinary differences between life sciences and physical sciences in data sharing practices, which are likely due to larger numbers of community repositories being available in the life sciences, combined with long standing data sharing mandates for life sciences communities.

DASs are increasingly required by publishers and other stakeholders like funding agencies, as they provide a simple and interoperable way to communicate and provide evidence of data sharing. Our findings provide a useful insight into the impact of these policies on editorial workflows, and how researchers are choosing to comply with their requirements.

To find out more about the research and its findings read the full article here.