Open-Access Scientific Data – A new option from the Nature Publishing Group

In May 2014 the Nature Publishing Group will be launching a new online publication – Scientific Data – which will focus on publishing citable descriptions of open-access data.

There are many benefits to open-access data sharing, including enhanced collaboration, greater research visibility, and accelerated scientific discovery. However, the logistics of providing efficient data storage and dissemination, and ensuring proper citations for data usage, can be a challenging process if undertaken individually. Fortunately there are a growing number of government sponsored and privately funded data centers now providing these services to the community.

As one of the newest offerings in this domain, Scientific Data is approaching open-access through the publication of Data Descriptors: “peer-reviewed, scientific publications that provide detailed descriptions of experimental and observational datasets.” Data Descriptors are “designed to be complementary to traditional research publications” and can include descriptions of data used in new journal publications, data from previously published research, and standalone data that has its own intrinsic scientific value.

Scientific Data

Scientific Data’s six key principles (source:

Because Scientific Data is open-access, there are no fees associated with user access to the Data Descriptors. However, to support and facilitate this open-access, authors must pay an article processing charge for each Descriptor that is published. Authors have the option of publishing their Data using one of three different Creative Commons licenses: Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0), Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0), or Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0). Each license requires users to properly cite the source of the data, but with varying levels of requirements on how the data can be used and re-shared.

Note that under this model Scientific Data is only publishing the Data Descriptors, and authors must still place the data itself in approved publically available data repositories. This helps ensure data is made readily available to the community without restriction. Approved repositories within the environmental and geosciences currently include the National Climatic Data Center, the NERC Data Centres, and PANGAEA. However, authors can also propose additional data repositories be included in this list.

Scientific Data is now accepting submissions, and offering early adopting authors a discounted article processing charge.

For more info on Scientific Data:


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