ESA Data Policy – Ensuring an Openness to Science

by Elisabeth Huber-Sannwald, ESA Publications Chair

An important core value to ESA publishing is reproducibility, a fundamental principle in scientific research. At the ESA we understand that low quality or vague methodology indications can make validating a research method grueling for independent researchers to replicate results. Thus, sharing research data and other science practices as part of open research contributes to making science more reproducible. Other journals such as Nature, PNAS, PLOS, and Science already have data sharing policies and guidelines. Opening up data can yield benefits: it can catalyze new collaborations, increase confidence in findings and generate goodwill among researchers. Ultimately, access to data is a critical feature of an efficient, progressive and ultimately self-correcting scientific ecosystem.

ESA has adopted a society-wide open research policy for its publications to further support scientific exploration and preservation, allow a full assessment of published research, and streamline policies across our family of journals. An open research policy provides full transparency for scientific data and code, facilitates replication and synthesis, and aligns ESA journals with current standards. As of Feb. 1, 2021, all new manuscript submissions to ESA journals must abide by the following policy:

As a condition for publication in ESA journals, all underlying data and statistical code pertinent to the results presented in the publication must be made available in a permanent, publicly accessible data archive or repository, with rare exceptions (see “Details” for more information). Archived data and statistical code should be sufficiently complete to allow replication of tables, graphs, and statistical analyses reported in the original publication, and perform new or meta-analyses. As such, the desire of authors to control additional research with these data and/or code shall not be grounds for withholding material.

If you’re submitting your paper to an ESA journal, you’ll be asked to provide a data availability statement with your submission, informing readers where the data can be found. Practically, the data needs to be available once the article is accepted as a condition of publication.

Thus, for the purpose of this policy, the following underlying material is required:

  • Raw data and metadata used to generate tables, figures, plots, videos/animations
  • Novel code or computer software utilized to generate results or analyses
  • All methods or protocols utilized to generate the data, both existing (including references) and new methods/protocols
  • Derived data products

ESA believes that all data sets underlying the conclusions of the paper should be available to readers. We require authors to deposit their data sets in publicly available repositories (redacting sensitive information when appropriate).

By having open research, we want open evaluation and rigorous peer-review reliant on values of indisputable evidence, intellectual and ethical rigor, and credibility within the scientific community. This should also help us to identify errors while promoting multifaceted perspectives, whilst deterring ethical misconduct.

We invite you to read the full policy and Frequently Asked Questions to learn more.