Research data policies and services

Data Support Services (pilot)

To help Springer Nature authors and journals follow good practice in sharing and archiving of research data, we’re providing optional data deposition and curation services.

The Springer Nature Data Support Services help authors comply with funder policies, prepare their data for deposition in a repository and enhance their peer-reviewed publications.

The services provide secure and private submission of data files, which are then curated and managed by the Springer Nature Research Data team for public release (in agreement with the submitting author). These services are provided by Springer Nature, with support from figshare.

Through the Data Support Services our dedicated Research Data Editors:

      - Enhance metadata of dataset(s) to improve discoverability and encourage reuse

      - Apply DOIs to provide unique persistent links to dataset(s) and enable citation of them

      - Link data to their associated article and coordinate publication with the article

      - Store data in the Springer Nature portal in the figshare repository


Find out if your data would benefit from the Data Support Services through this simple form.

What are the benefits of these services?

These services provide various benefits to researchers, institutes, funders and journals

Benefits to researchers

  • Compliance with funder and institutional data policies
  • Link data to their publications and promote citation and reuse of their data
  • Saves time and effort needed to deposit and curate data
  • Enhances and increases visibility of peer-reviewed publications

Benefits to research funders and institutions

  • Assurance of compliance with data policies
  • Consistent approaches to data sharing and linking to publications
  • Sustainable data curation and archiving
  • Appropriate editorial standards

Benefits to journals

  • Enabling authors to easily deposit their data and link them to their article, promoting transparency and reproducibility
  • Ensuring data associated with articles are available and discoverable, increasing discoverability of the journal’s content

What specific checks, actions and improvements will be carried out by these services?

The Data Support Services improve data discoverability by editing and enhancing metadata about submitted data and files (such as titles, authors, keywords and descriptions). Checks are also carried out on file integrity, for the presence of potentially sensitive or identifying information, and for consistency with associated manuscripts where applicable. Publication of data will be coordinated with the publication of the authors’ associated Springer Nature articles.


In practice, the following actions, checks and improvements are undertaken by researchers and the service’s dedicated Research Data Editors:

  • Researchers upload their data files securely to a dedicated Springer Nature portal in figshare, and submit basic descriptive and contextual metadata.

  • Data files are checked for sensitive data or identifiable human research participants, and the researcher is advised on de-identification, if applicable.

  • Data files are checked to ensure that they can be previewed by end-users; where the particular file type cannot be previewed, Data Support Services will work with figshare to try to arrange support for this file type.

  • Data files are cross-referenced against the provided metadata to ensure that all expected files have been received.

  • Where necessary, datasets are split and curated into distinct collections to enhance access and reusability.

  • Submitted metadata is checked and copy-edited so that it is clear, readable, and free from spelling and grammatical errors.

  • A comprehensive description of datasets and underlying research method is added based on the submitted metadata and any associated manuscript(s).

  • Categories from the Australian Fields of Research classification system are added to allow datasets to be found more easily within the figshare repository.

  • Keywords are added to enhance the discoverability of datasets by allowing more granular search.

  • Funder information is added to comply with any funder requirements for acknowledgement.

  • Datasets' title is copy-edited or rewritten to support discoverability.

  • Datasets' author lists are cross-referenced with any associated manuscripts to allow accurate citations to be generated within figshare.

  • A persistent identifier (DOI) is generated for each dataset, enhancing accessibility and providing a persistent link for citation.

  • Datasets are linked to associated article(s), if possible and/or applicable, allowing the research that built on a dataset to be identified and accessed.

  • Where necessary, datasets are embargoed and publication is coordinated by the Data Support Services team.

What dedicated support is available?

Through our free Research Data Helpdesk, Springer Nature’s Research Data team (ResearchData@springernature.com) are available to answer all and any questions about the Data Support Services and general questions about our research data policies.

Other FAQs

1. What are the Data Support Services?

The Data Support Services are optional services available to Springer Nature authors who have datasets they want to share, make citable and improve their discoverability. To enable Springer Nature authors and journals to follow good practice in sharing and archiving of research data, we’re developing a range of solutions, including an optional data deposition and curation service.

This service builds on our Research Data Support helpdesk, launched in July 2016, and will further help authors comply with funder policies, prepare their data for deposition in a repository and enhance their peer-reviewed publications. The service provides secure and private submission of data files, data curation and publisher-managed release of datasets.

2. Who are the services for?

Our Research Data Support Helpdesk is a free service available to all Springer Nature authors and editors. The Data Support Services are currently available to authors submitting manuscripts to specific journals, and are also available to other Springer Nature authors and editors on request. A pilot of the Data Support Services is available on the following journals from the end of April 2017:

BMC Anesthesiology

BMC Bioinformatics

BMC Biology

BMC Biophysics

BMC Biotechnology

BMC Cancer

BMC Cardiovascular Disorders

BMC Cell Biology

BMC Clinical Pathology

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine

BMC Dermatology

BMC Developmental Biology

BMC Ear Nose and Throat Disorders

BMC Ecology

BMC Emergency Medicine

BMC Endocrine Disorders

BMC Evolutionary Biology

BMC Family Practice

BMC Gastroenterology

BMC Genetics

BMC Genomics

BMC Geriatrics

BMC Health Services Research

BMC Hematology

BMC Immunology

BMC Infectious Diseases

BMC International Health and Human Rights

BMC Medical Education

BMC Medical Ethics

BMC Medical Genetics

BMC Medical Genomics

BMC Medical Imaging

BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making

BMC Medical Research Methodology

BMC Microbiology

BMC Molecular Biology

BMC Nephrology

BMC Neurology

BMC Neuroscience

BMC Nursing

BMC Nutrition

BMC Obesity

BMC Ophthalmology

BMC Oral Health

BMC Palliative Care

BMC Pediatrics

BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology

BMC Physiology

BMC Plant Biology

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth

BMC Psychiatry

BMC Psychology

BMC Public Health

BMC Pulmonary Medicine

BMC Research Notes

BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation

BMC Structural Biology

BMC Surgery

BMC Systems Biology

BMC Urology

BMC Veterinary Research

BMC Women's Health

BMC Zoology

Genome Biology

3. Why provide Data Support Services?

Researchers tell us they are motivated to share data to progress research, to receive more credit and visibility for their work and to comply with funder policies. But researchers also tell us that they sometimes lack the time, resources, or technical knowledge of where or how to share research data. Springer Nature are introducing Data Support Services as we believe publishers have an important role in helping researchers overcome barriers to making research data more accessible.

4. How can an author submit to the Data Support Services?

Submission of data (files) to our Data Support Services is via a dedicated portal on the Springer Nature figshare repository. Authors submitting manuscripts to journals included in the pilot are given a link to the submission portal after they have answered a few questions that determine if their data are within the scope of the service. Submission is secure and data are private until publication of the associated manuscript, or until researchers agree to publication. Data Support Services are also available to other Springer Nature authors and editors on request. Please contact researchdata@springernature.com if you are interested in using our Data Support Services.

5. What data are eligible?

For about half of researchers, who do not have a discipline specific data repository, the service can provide an easier, more integrated option for sharing data in a repository linked to their research articles. The service is intended for data files that:

- are too large or not appropriate to be uploaded as supplementary materials

- do not have a discipline specific (community) data repository

- are not related to identifiable human research participants

- are not sensitive in any other way

Authors are asked questions before submission that determine if their data are within the scope of the service.

Virtually any file type can be submitted as the figshare platform can support a wide range of files, including a preview of the data in the article webpage.

6. Is there a cost to the author?

Data Support Services are being initially piloted as an offering to authors submitting manuscripts to specific journals. The services are offered free of charge during the first phase of the pilot so that we can refine it based on authors’ feedback to ensure it is valuable to them. Use of this service is optional and authors are free to deposit data themselves in any relevant repository independently of Springer Nature’s Data Support Services. The Research Data Support Helpdesk advisory service, which we launched in July 2016, remains a free service for all Springer Nature authors and editors.

7. What are the benefits of using the Data Support Services?

Benefits to researchers

Compliance with funder and institution data policies

Supports research progress and transparency

Promotes citation and reuse of their data

Saves time and effort needed to deposit and curate data

Enhances and increases visibility of peer-reviewed publications

Benefits to research funders and institutions

Assurance of compliance with data policies

Consistent approaches to data sharing and linking to publications

Sustainable data curation and archiving

Appropriate editorial standards

8. How will the service impact the peer-review and publication process?

Data Support Services are separate to the peer-review process for manuscripts. Use of the Data Support Services is neither a requirement nor a guarantee of manuscript publication.

Authors are generally encouraged to make data available to editors and peer reviewers, which using the Data Support Services (and some other data repositories) can facilitate.

9. What licences are data published under?

Authors who use the service to publish their research data will make their data openly available, under either a Creative Commons attribution license (CC BY) or the CC0 public domain waiver. On submission, authors are asked to select a license and to agree to the figshare terms and conditions. We strongly encourage authors to make data available under Creative Commons CC0 to enable maximum potential for reuse.