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).

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(s) 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.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

1. 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
  • Links data to their publications
  • Supports research progress and transparency
  • Saves time and effort needed to deposit and curate data
  • Enhances and increases visibility of peer-reviewed publications
  • Promotes citation and reuse of their data

Benefits to research institutions and funders

  • 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

2. 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, where applicable.

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

SERVICE FEATURES

HELPDESK

DATA DISCOVERY SERVICE

Advice on finding repositories and complying with policies

Advice on writing data availability statements and data citation

Easy upload to Springer Nature figshare repository up to 50GB

Check for presence of sensitive information

Ensure accessibility of files for end users

Ensure files match metadata and associated publications

Organise files into a logical structure and collections

Copy edit submitted metadata including titles and dataset description

Content categorised according to industry standard definitions

Author lists matched to associated publications

Digital Object Identifier (DOI) generated for each dataset

Datasets embargoes with private, anonymous access enabled

Link and synchronize dataset release to associated publications

Assessment report and feedback from Research Data Editor

Extra data storage for files >50Gb available on request

3. What are the Data Support Services?

The Data Support Services are optional services available to authors who have datasets they want to share, make citable and improve the discoverability of. 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 deposition and curation 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.

4. Can I use the Data Support Services?

The Data Support Services are currently available to authors submitting manuscripts to specific journals, and are also available to other authors and editors on request. A pilot of the Data Support Services is available on the following journals from the end of April 2017:

Acta Neuropathologica

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

Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology

Carbon Balance and Management

Computing and Software for Big Science

Genome Biology

Journal of Cheminformatics

Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems

Journal of Real-Time Image Processing

Malaria Journal

Microbial Cell Factories

Microbiome

Mobile DNA

Nutrient Cycling in Agroecosystems

Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases

Reproductive Health

Retrovirology

Authors who have previously published with Springer Nature and would like to make their data available via the Data Support Services should contact researchdata@springernature.com.

5. What do we mean by 'data'?

By data we mean any files that have been generated as part of your research that aren’t your research manuscript (paper). Including, but not limited to:

  • spreadsheets

  • videos

  • images

  • code

  • audio files

  • maps

6. What is the difference between this service, and uploading Supplementary Information/Supplementary Material?

In comparison to publishing data as supplementary information files (also known as electronic supplementary materials or additional files), using the Data Support Services improves data discoverability by editing and enhancing metadata (such as titles, authors, keywords and descriptions). Larger file sizes can also be supported. The policies of some funding agencies require use of data repositories for data archiving enabling compliance with such policies.  More information on the specific checks and improvements (which are not routinely offered  by all journals for data submitted as supplementary information) can be seen above, under “What specific checks, actions and improvements will be carried out by these services?”

7. 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.

8. How does the data submission process work?

Submission of data (files) to our Data Support Services is via a dedicated portal on the Springer Nature figshare repository, which you will be provided a link to once we have established that your data is in scope for inclusion. 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 whether 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. 

Watch a short walk through of the submission process here.

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.

9. What do I need to do to submit my data?

Once you reach the Data Support Services’ submission portal on figshare, you should be ready to submit your data files. To submit your data, you will need to know:

  • If your dataset(s) can be made available in a public repository
  • If any co-authors need to agree with you submitting to the Data Support Services
  • Your manuscript identifier (MS-ID) or DOI.
  • An appropriate short description (an abstract) for your research and the data files
  • If you can apply an open licence to your data (our Research Data Editors can advise on selecting these)

If there’s any aspect of the submission portal which you’re not sure about, you can contact the Data Support Services at researchdata@springernature.com

You can also watch a tutorial of the process here.

And watch a short walk through video here.

10. What happens after I submit my data?

Once your data have been submitted, you will be contacted by a dedicated Research Data Editor who will work to improve data discoverability by editing and enhancing the metadata associated with your dataset (including titles, authors, keywords and descriptions). You will be provided with access to a private link to your dataset in the figshare repository, and you will have the opportunity to approve the suggested enhancements and propose changes you would like to include. You will be provided with a DOI for your dataset which you can include in your manuscript if it has not yet been published, and you decide whether you would like to publish the data in advance of your published paper, or simultaneously; data can also be embargoed for longer period if required. Throughout this process you can get in touch with your Research Data Editor with any questions you may have.

You can see more information on how your metadata will be enhanced above, under “What specific checks, actions and improvements will be carried out by these services?”

11. Is there a cost to the author?

Data Support Services are being initially piloted as an offering to authors submitting manuscripts to specific journals and to other authors and publications on request. The services are offered free of charge for files up to 50Gb 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.

12. 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.

13. Which 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 licence (CC BY) or the CC0 public domain waiver. On submission, authors are asked to select a licence 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. More information about the licences available in figshare can be accessed here.

14. Can I see some examples of datasets which have been improved by the Data Support Services?

Yes. Datasets which have been improved by the Data Support Services accompany papers published in Nature and BMC Ecology. These datasets are now available in figshare under open licences, as Fukangichthys: CT scan data and surface files from middle Triassic fossil scanilepiform fish and Capture-mark-recapture data modelling survival rates of Microcebus murinus in relation to glucocorticoid level, parasite infection and body condition.

The Data Support Services has also worked with conferences including the International Semantic Web Conference 2017 to make available the data underpinning the published conference proceedings; and with the ACTwatch research project to publish survey data relating to malaria in 12 countries.

You can read a blogpost on how the Data Support Services worked to improve the discoverability of some of its published datasets here.