Data archiving in palaeoecology

Perhaps the main impediment in trying to reproduce the results from Dr Larocque-Tobler’s papers was the incomplete archiving of data for several papers. So I had a look at he requirements for data archiving in journals that commonly publish palaeoecological research. Here are the data availability requirements (my emphasis except for Nature).

Journal of Paleolimnology (Springer)

Authors may deposit long tables, species lists, protocols, and additional figures in the Publisher’s Electronic Supplementary Material (ESM) system, which is directly linked online to the published article. Alternatively, any official repository may be used (e.g., World Data Center-A for Paleoclimatology at NOAA/NGDC).


Quaternary Science Reviews; Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology (Elsevier)

This journal encourages and enables you to share data that supports your research publication where appropriate, and enables you to interlink the data with your published articles. Research data refers to the results of observations or experimentation that validate research findings. To facilitate reproducibility and data reuse, this journal also encourages you to share your software, code, models, algorithms, protocols, methods and other useful materials related to the project.

Data statement
To foster transparency, we encourage you to state the availability of your data in your submission. This may be a requirement of your funding body or institution. If your data is unavailable to access or unsuitable to post, you will have the opportunity to indicate why during the submission process, for example by stating that the research data is confidential. The statement will appear with your published article on ScienceDirect. For more information, visit the Data Statement page.

Holocene (SAGE)

The Holocene requests all authors submitting any primary data used in their research articles [“alongside their article submissions” or “if the articles are accepted”] to be published in the online version of the journal, or provide detailed information in their articles on how the data can be obtained. This information should include links to third-party data repositories or detailed contact information for third-party data sources. Data available only on an author-maintained website will need to be loaded onto either the journal’s platform or a third-party platform to ensure continuing accessibility. Examples of data types include but are not limited to statistical data files, replication code, text files, audio files, images, videos, appendices, and additional charts and graphs necessary to understand the original research. [The editor(s) may consider limited embargoes on proprietary data.] The editor(s) [can/will] also grant exceptions for data that cannot legally or ethically be released. All data submitted should comply with Institutional or Ethical Review Board requirements and applicable government regulations. For further information, please contact the editorial office at [email address].


Boreas (Wiley)

Data that is integral to the paper must be made available in such a way as to enable readers to replicate, verify and build upon the conclusions published in the paper. Any restriction on the availability of this data must be disclosed at the time of submission.

Data may be included as part of the main article where practical. We recommend that data for which public repositories are widely used, and are accessible to all, should be deposited in such a repository prior to publication. The appropriate linking details and identifier(s) should then be included in the publication and where possible the repository, to facilitate linking between the journal article and the data. If such a repository does not exist, data should be included as supporting information to the published paper or authors should agree to make their data available upon reasonable request.

Climate of the Past (EGU)

Copernicus Publications recommends depositing data that correspond to journal articles in reliable (public) data repositories, assigning digital object identifiers, and properly citing data sets as individual contributions. Please find your appropriate data repository in the registry for research data repositories A data citation in a publication should resemble a bibliographic citation and be located in the publication’s reference list. To foster the proper citation of data, Copernicus Publications requires all authors to provide a statement on the availability of underlying data as the last paragraph of each article (see section data availability). In addition, Copernicus Publications provides with Earth System Science Data (ESSD) a journal dedicated to the publication of data papers including peer review on data sets. Authors might consider submitting a data paper to ESSD in addition to their research paper in CP.

Best practice following the Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles initiated by FORCE 11: 


In addition to promoting these data citation principles, Copernicus Publications is a signatory of the Coalition on Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences (COPDESS) commitment statement.

Statement on the availability of underlying data

Authors are required to provide a statement on how their underlying research data can be accessed. This must be placed as the section “Data availability” at the end of the manuscript before the acknowledgements. Please see the manuscript composition for the correct sequence. If the data are not publicly accessible, a detailed explanation of why this is the case is required.

The best way to provide access to data is by depositing them (as well as related metadata) in reliable public data repositories, assigning digital object identifiers, and properly citing data sets as individual contributions. If different data sets are deposited in different repositories, this needs to be indicated in the data availability section. If data from a third party were used, this needs to be explained (including a reference to these data). Data Cite recommends the following elements for a data citation:

Creators: Title, Publisher/Repository, Identifier, Publication Year (e.g.: Loew, A., Bennartz, R., Fell, F., Lattanzio, A., Doutriaux-Boucher, M., and Schulz, J.: Surface Albedo Validation Sites, EUMETSAT,, 2015).

Copernicus Publications also accepts supplements containing smaller amounts of data. However, please note that this is not the preferred way of making data available.

Other underlying material

Data do not comprise the only information which is important in the context of reproducibility. Therefore, Copernicus Publications encourages authors to also deposit software, algorithms, model code, and other underlying material on suitable repositories/archives whenever possible. These materials should be referenced in the article and preferably cited via a persistent identifier as a DOI.

Nature Geosciences (Nature Group)

An inherent principle of publication is that others should be able to replicate and build upon the authors’ published claims. A condition of publication in a Nature Research journal is that authors are required to make materials, data, code, and associated protocols promptly available to readers without undue qualifications. Any restrictions on the availability of materials or information must be disclosed to the editors at the time of submission. Any restrictions must also be disclosed in the submitted manuscript.

After publication, readers who encounter refusal by the authors to comply with these policies should contact the chief editor of the journal. In cases where editors are unable to resolve a complaint, the journal may refer the matter to the authors’ funding institution and/or publish a formal statement of correction, attached online to the publication, stating that readers have been unable to obtain necessary materials to replicate the findings. [Emphasis in original]

PAGES-acknowledged publications

Prior to publication, all essential input and output data must be archived in a community recognized, publicly accessible, long-term data repository to allow for a proper “data citation” (see below).

There is a huge variation in what the journals require, from “may” to “must”, and whether the data need to be archived or only promised on request. Only Nature explains what will happen if the authors renege on their agreement.

Of course, what really matters is how well these policies are enforced.


About richard telford

Ecologist with interests in quantitative methods and palaeoenvironments
This entry was posted in Peer reviewed literature and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Data archiving in palaeoecology

  1. Pingback: Been scooped? A discussion on data stewardship | Musings on Quantitative Palaeoecology

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