Promoting research data sharing at Springer Nature

This blog was written by Iain Hrynaszkiewicz, Head of Data Publishing at Springer Nature, in support of the newly launched, company-wide Springer Nature Research Data Policies.

We want to enable our authors to publish the best research and maximize the benefit of research funding, which includes achieving good practice in the sharing and archiving of research data. We also aim to facilitate authors’ compliance with institution and research funder requirements to share data.

We are developing services to support implementation of the policies and aim to have the most comprehensive and inclusive research data policy of any large publisher.

To help accomplish these goals we are introducing a set of standardized research data policies that can be easily adopted by journals and understood by authors. We are developing services to support implementation of the policies and aim to have the most comprehensive and inclusive research data policy of any large publisher.

These new policies and services aim to:

  • improve author service and experience by standardizing research data policies and procedures between journals where appropriate
  • improve reader service by providing more consistent links between publications and data
  • improve editor and peer reviewer service by providing more consistent guidelines and support for research data policies, and increased visibility of data in the peer-review process
  • encourage publication of more open and reproducible research
  • increase growth and innovation in research data sharing
  • provide a dedicated Research Data Support helpdesk for Springer Nature authors and editors

The journal research data policy landscape is currently too complex and a major effort to harmonize standards across thousands of journals is long overdue. We want to create greater awareness and, where possible and appropriate, action on research data sharing – while recognizing some research communities are more ready than others to introduce strong requirements to share data.

Policies are only effective if they result in action, which means we are working on publication-by-publication implementation. We have devised a modular approach to research data policy, in consultation with researchers across all disciplines, as well as funders, libraries and other stakeholders.

We are only at the beginning of this process and titles from across all our imprints are already participating. We welcome feedback from the rest of the publishing and research community on how we have defined these common elements of research data policy.

Overview of the policies
Overview of the policies

All our research data policy types support data citation – the formal referencing of public datasets in reference lists – in recognition of the growing importance of robustly linking data to publications.

So far more than 350 journals have adopted one of the policies, selecting the one that is most relevant, applicable and appropriate to it and the community it serves.

More than 350 journals have adopted one of the policies. For example, Photosynthesis Research has adopted a Type 1 policy and Plant and Soil has adopted a Type 2 policy. All BioMed Central journals, a growing number of Nature journals, and Palgrave Communications support type 3 policies. Journals with the strictest open data policies such as Scientific Data and Genome Biology support the requirements of the Type 4 policy.

See the FAQs for more information or read the policies in full. Our centralised and standardised research data policy resources also include a list of trusted data repositories, how to contact our Research Data Support helpdesk and guidance and examples of preparing Data Availability Statements, which are increasingly required as part of funder policies.

While establishing comprehensive research data policies may not be technologically radical, we believe this effort is both sensible, and necessary. We hope to help build the foundations to support a more open and integrated future for research data publishing at Springer Nature across our thousands of publications and hundreds of thousands of customers.

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