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VZJ Reproducible Research | Author and Reviewer Instructions


Articles designated as Reproducible Research (RR) in Vadose Zone Journal (VZJ) are a class of articles that include supplemental computer code and data that permit readers to analyze the data in a manner similar to that presented in the article, and reproduce all results from the article. The purpose of RR in VZJ is to provide a means for verifying the correctness of results presented in published articles, and for building on results in future research and applications.

RR papers comprise two parts: a standard VZJ article and a supplemental file archive containing code, data, and metadata, the latter including information on the content and licensing of the RR file archive.   

RR papers submitted to VZJ are reviewed under the same conditions as journal articles. Any type of VZJ article (e.g., original research papers, technical notes, reviews and analyses, comments or letters to the editor, priority communications) featuring data and/or computational analyses can be submitted/reviewed/published as an RR article. Analyses and data do not have to be complex (although they can be). The only requirement is that code and data underlying the article be included as part of the publication. 

General Requirements

RR articles are standard VZJ articles plus an RR file archive. The basic requirements for RR articles in terms of content and quality are the same as for standard VZJ articles (https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/vzj/author-instructions). RR file archives are reviewed to ensure the archive is readable and understandable, and that code is technically sound and can be used to reproduce key results from the paper.

Submission Process

All VZJ articles are submitted via Manuscript Central, VZJ’s submissions manager (http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/vzj). During the submission process, authors are asked if the submission is intended to be designated as reproducible research. If the submission is RR, then authors will upload the RR archive as supplemental material along with the article. 

**Pilot Program**  VZJ is launching the RR initiative as a pilot program. During this period, authors can select RR without uploading an RR archive. In this case, an associate editor will contact and work with the author on preparing an RR file archive, to be uploaded at the time of manuscript revision.  The article peer-review will proceed separately and without delay, independent of RR archive preparation. The goal is to permit authors who are unware or unfamiliar with the RR program to participate without any delay in manuscript review and publication process.  

The RR File Archive

All RR archives must contain in the highest level directory the file “README.md”, which contains information on: creator(s)/author(s), year, title, version (if applicable), name/location of external repository (if applicable), description of archive and files, licensing information, citation information, and instructions for use.  

Allowable File Types

The following file archive types are allowed: ZIP, tar.gz, 7z.

Within the archive, most standard file types are allowed. Of course, only files which the authors are legally entitled to redistribute can be included in the archive.  We encourage but do not require the use of open file formats and computing tools/platforms/lanuages (Python, R, Julia, GNU Octave, Jupyter Notebooks, etc.). 

There is a limit of 100 MB per datasets hosted on our site. RR file archives smaller than 10 MB can be hosted for free on ACSESS servers alongside the published article.   Archives between 10 and 100 MB can be hosted on the journal website with a one-time charge (See the Pricing Schedule for details). Anything above 100 MB will have to be stored on an external, publically accessible repository (institutional repositories or another acceptable repository such as Dryad or github). In the case of an external repository, the journal will host (for free) a small archive containing at a minimum the README.md file, which has a standardized format and content structure across all RR archives, and contains various metadata and information about the file archive.

Copyrights and Licenses

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

Publication Charges

Standard VZJ publication charges for these papers apply. Addition charges may apply depending on the size of the RR archive (See current pricing schedule). Members of one of the three Societies, ASA, CSSA, or SSSA, will receive a discounted price.


RR papers will be reviewed for scientific merit in the same manner as any VZJ paper (https://dl.sciencesocieties.org/publications/editors-reviewers). Additionally, the RR file archive will be reviewed to verify that the archive is readable and understandable, and that code is technically sound and can be used to reproduce all results from the paper.