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Dataset Paper Author and Reviewer Instructions

Journal of Environmental Quality Dataset Papers - Author and Reviewer Instructions

 

GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORS OF DATASET PAPERS

Dataset papers in the Journal of Environmental Quality (JEQ) present and describe environmental datasets covering a broad spatial and temporal range that are accessible to other researchers for developing new studies. Dataset papers comprise two parts: a dataset or group of datasets and the metadata (manuscript), which describes the content, quality, structure, and potential uses of the dataset(s). Limited statistical analysis of the data may be included in the metadata, but more detailed analysis of datasets could form the core of a regular research paper to be published in JEQ or elsewhere.

Dataset papers submitted to JEQ are reviewed under the same conditions as journal articles. Reviewers will assess the scientific suitability, significance, and completeness of (i) the dataset and (ii) the manuscript text/description of the data (i.e., metadata). The manuscript of a dataset paper should follow JEQ Author Instructions, but a “Results” section is not included; instead a section should be included to describe “Major Characteristics of the Dataset.” Instead of a section for “Conclusions,” a “Summary” section should be provided to describe the strengths and weaknesses, and potential use, of the dataset(s).

Authors should take the following into consideration when preparing a dataset paper: quality of the manuscript, scientific value and quality of the dataset, and consistency between the manuscript and dataset.

Quality of the Manuscript

The method used to collect or create the data should be of a high scientific standard and well documented. Overall characteristics of the data in terms of error limits and spatial and/or temporal variability should be presented. Missing data should be noted, discussed, and/or documented, and any changes in data collection or methods used should be fully described. Scientific value and potential use of the dataset(s) should be elaborated. Proper credit should be given to the person(s) or agency that collected the data.

Suitability and Completeness of the Dataset

  • The data will be reviewed for completeness and consistency. The data should be clearly listed, arranged, and sorted. Information should be given to show the data are discoverable and how the data were collected and/or created.
  • The data should be of high scientific quality, i.e., scientifically and technically sound. For example, data should be completely and consistently recorded, be consistent internally and described using applicable standards (e.g., in terms of file formats, file names, file size, units, and metadata), and cover sufficiently large region(s) and time period(s).
  • The data should be clearly listed, arranged, and sorted so that users can easily extract the data in which they are interested.

Consistency between Manuscript and Data

  • The manuscript should provide a full and an accurate description of the content, context, quality, and structure of the data.
  • The manuscript should properly describe how to access the data (see “How to Cite,” below).
  • The methods used to generate the data (including calibration, code and suitable controls) should be described in sufficient detail.
  • The data should be sufficiently unique to merit publication.
  • The use cases (e.g., models using the data) described in the dataset paper should be consistent with the data presented. The author may want to comment on other possible use cases (e.g., historical trend analysis).
  • Possible sources of error should be appropriately addressed.
  • The information given in the manuscript or the data resource should allow for replication of the measurements or other representations of the data.
  • All claims made in the manuscript should be substantiated by the underlying data.

Submission Process

Authors will provide access to the dataset or upload the dataset(s) with their articles via Manuscript Central, JEQ’s submissions manager. See the JEQ website for information on the submission process.

Dataset papers or collections of datasets integral to a dataset paper can be hosted on the ACSESS internal servers or an appropriate external repository (institutional repositories or another acceptable repository such as Dryad). For datasets hosted on our site, the original dataset will be linked to the scientific paper to ensure consistent and secure access to it. The dataset will have a separate DOI and must contain a separate set of metadata. New versions of such a dataset are allowed but will not replace the original version linked to the article. The user will have open access to all versions of the dataset.

Allowable File Types

The following are among the file types allowed for datasets housed with ACSESS: .csv, .txt, Excel, H264/MPEG-4 AVC (videos).

The following file types are not allowed: executables (EXE), compressed files (GZIP/TAR, ZIP).

Contact the managing editor of your journal if you have questions concerning allowable file types.

There is a limit of 100 MB per datasets hosted on our site. Datasets larger than 100 MB in size need be hosted by other repositories (institutional repositories or another acceptable repository). See the Pricing Schedule for details.

To allow for accuracy, discoverability, and usefulness, content metadata will be connected to the datasets hosted on our sites. At a minimum, the metadata will include the following, to be required upon acceptance: creator(s)/author(s), year, title, version (if applicable), publisher/name of repository, identifier (DOI to be assigned by ACSESS), file type, description of dataset, resource type, related paper information (including manuscript title and number).

Copyrights and Licenses

Datasets can contain a wide variety of content, and each may have a different license, or intellectual property ownership, which must be separately specified in the content metadata. Datasets may also automatically accrue their own rights. The contents of a database, or the database itself, can be covered by other rights not addressed here (such as private contracts, trademark over the name, or privacy rights/data protection rights over information in the contents). Thus, authors are advised to be aware of potential problems for data reuse from databases, and that they are responsible to clear other rights before engaging in activities not covered by the respective license, including reusing the data for their own articles submitted to our journals.

Note that data (e.g., data in spreadsheets) in and of themselves are not eligible for copyright in most countries. Where applicable, datasets hosted by ACSESS will have CC-BY-NC licensing.

How to Cite Datasets in the Manuscript

A digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique alphanumeric string assigned to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the Internet. DOIs must always accompany the references to the data package in the associated data paper. Datasets should be cited in the text of the data paper at first mention, e.g., Jones et al. (2014). ACSESS will assign DOIs to datasets that are hosted internally.

The format is:

Creator. Year. Title. Publisher/repository, Location. Identifier.

e.g., Jones, A., B. Bloggs, and C. Smith. 2015. Title of data package. ACSESS, Madison, WI. doi:*****.

How to Cite in Other Sources

Please cite the original publication when using data that is connected to a JEQ dataset paper:

e.g., Jones, A., B. Bloggs, and C. Smith. 2015. Title of article. J. Environ. Qual. 44:1–10. doi:*****.

Additionally, please cite the data package using the following format:

Creator. Year. Title. Publisher/repository, Location. Identifier.

Jones, A., B. Bloggs, and C. Smith. 2015. Title of data package. ACSESS, Madison, WI. doi:*****.

Publication Charges

See current pricing schedule for dataset publication charges. Members of one of the three societies, ASA, CSSA, or SSSA, will receive a discounted price.

We charge at acceptance for datasets that are part of a data paper. If an author of a data paper provides new versions of the dataset(s), these will be assigned a new DOI, and the author will be charged at the current rates.

GUIDELINES FOR REVIEWING DATASET PAPERS

Dataset papers will be reviewed by assessing the scientific suitability and completeness of (i) the dataset and (ii) the manuscript text/description of the dataset.  The review process will evaluate the environmental significance, overall quality, and usability of the dataset. A minimum of two reviewers will review each of these two parts of the paper. The Associate Editor will read the manuscript, evaluate the reviews, and assess the consistency between the description within the manuscript text and the dataset. 

Reviewer’s Assessment

Quality of the Data (minimum of two reviews)

  • Are the data easily readable and understandable, i.e., are they internally consistent and described using applicable standards (e.g. in terms of file formats, file names, file size, scientific units)?
  • Are the data of high scientific quality. For example:
    • Are any changes in the data collection or methods used fully described?
    • Are the data completely and consistently recorded?
    • Do the data cover sufficiently large region(s) and time period(s)?
    • Are missing data noted, discussed, and/or documented?
    • Are there missing data that compromise its usefulness?

Quality of the manuscript text/description of the dataset (minimum of two reviews)

  • Do the title, abstract and keywords accurately reflect the contents of the dataset paper?
  • Is the dataset paper internally consistent, suitably organized?
  • Have abbreviations, symbols, and scientific units been properly used and defined?
  • Is the data resource properly described in the context of prior research and datasets?
  • Is the data resource (or link to it) properly cited in the text and in the references?
  • Are conflicts of interest, relevant permissions, and other ethical issues addressed in an appropriate manner?
  • Is full credit given to the person/agency that collected (or owns) the data?
  • Is information provided as to how the data were collected (or created)?
  • Is the method used to collect or create the data of a high scientific standard?
  • Are the methods used to process and analyze the raw data, thereby creating processed data or analytical results, sufficiently well documented that they could be repeated by third parties?
  • Are the data characterized in terms of error limits and spatial and/or temporal variability?
  •  

Associate Editor’s Assessment

  • Does the manuscript text provide a full and accurate description of the data?
  • Does the manuscript properly describe how to access the data?
  • Are the methods used to generate the data (including calibration, code, and suitable controls) described in sufficient detail?
  • Are the use cases (e.g. models using data) described in the manuscript text consistent with the data presented? Would other possible use cases (e.g. historical trend analysis) merit comment in the paper?
  • Have possible sources of error or missing data been appropriately addressed in the protocols and/or the manuscript text?
  • Is anything missing in the manuscript or the data resource itself that would prevent replication of the measurements or reproduction of the figures or other representations of the data?
  • Are all claims made in the dataset paper substantiated by the underlying data?
  • Is the dataset and manuscript text/description sufficiently unique to merit publication?