Open data

Data has the power to revolutionise and disrupt the way societies are governed for the better. This is especially the case with open data, which is free to access, free to use, and can be shared by anyone.

 

That is why UCL Open: Environment strongly encourages all authors to make all data on which the conclusions of their paper rely freely available to readers.

What is data?

Data are facts, observations or experiences on which an argument or theory is constructed or tested. Data may be numerical, descriptive, aural or visual.

Data may be raw, abstracted or analysed, experimental or observational. Data include but are not limited to: laboratory notebooks; field notebooks; primary research data (including research data in hard copy or in computer-readable form); questionnaires; audiotapes; videotapes; models; photographs; films; and test responses. Research collections may include slides; artefacts; specimens; and samples. 

FAIR Data Principles

UCL Open: Environment supports the FAIR Data Principles (https://www.force11.org/group/fairgroup/fairprinciples):

Findable – making research outputs discoverable by the wider academic community and the public;

Accessible – using unique identifiers, metadata and a clear use of language and access protocols;

Interoperable – applying standards to encode and exchange data and metadata;

Reusable – enabling the repurposing of research outputs to maximise their research potential. 

Prior to submission, all authors should ensure that their data are either deposited in publicly available repositories (such as GenBank, TreeBASE, Dryad, the Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity or other suitable long-term and stable public repositories, see below notice on data repositories) whenever possible, or have included in the main text for open peer review.

General repositories – for all types of research data (such as Figshare) – may be used where appropriate. UCL authors are encouraged to use the UCL Research Data Repository (please see https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/research-support/research-data-management/ucl-research-data-repository.)

Data availability statement in your article

Authors must clearly state in their manuscript where their data are made available at time of submission. In circumstances where ethical and legal issues dictate any restrictions on sharing data (including research using personal data), a statement to this effect must be included for clarity. Where a widely established research community expectation for data archiving in public repositories exists, submission to a community-endorsed, public repository is mandatory. Persistent identifiers (such as DOIs and accession numbers) for relevant data must be provided in the manuscript.

During submission, authors are required to confirm the data availability statement to indicate how fellow researchers can access their software and data and link to data sets in repositories.

Handling sensitive & personal data

Handling sensitive & personal dataIn circumstances where ethical and legal issues dictate, any restrictions on sharing data (including research using personal data) should always be considered when storing and preserving research data. The journal also does not require public sharing of other sensitive data, such as the locations of endangered species. Alternatives to public sharing of sensitive or personal data include:

  • Deposition of research data in controlled access repositories.
  • Anonymisation or deidentification of data before public sharing.
  • Only sharing metadata about the research data.
  • Stating the procedures for accessing your research data in your article and managing data access requests from other researchers.

UCL Open: Environment adheres to the UCL Research Data policy statement: ‘as open as possible, as closed as necessary’ as outlined online at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/research-support/research-data

Supplementary information

Data or information should not be submitted as supplementary information alongside the manuscript, but instead be included either as an appendix to the manuscript that forms part of the paper or deposited into a publicly available repository, depending on the type of data or information concerned.

Data repositories

The preferred mechanism for sharing research data is via data repositories. For help finding relevant research data repositories please see https://repositoryfinder.datacite.org

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Data citation

The journal encourages authors to cite any publicly available research data in their reference list. References to datasets (data citations) must include a persistent identifier (such as a DOI). Citations of datasets, when they appear in the reference list, should include the minimum information recommended by DataCite and follow journal style.