More and more journals require you to write a Data Availability Statement (DAS) when you submit a manuscript. What is DAS? How do you write one?
Where do you usually find data that relates to a published paper? Sometimes, authors include data as supplementary materials in images or pdf; or as data files for download. In recent years, more authors put relevant datasets in data repositories, and give you the links to the datasets. However, when the data is not explicitly made available with the published paper, readers have no clue about its accessibility.
Data Availability Statement, or DAS, serves to add transparency, so that data can be validated, reused, and properly cited. DAS is simple to write. It is one or two sentences that tells the readers where to find the data associated with your paper. You can place it near the end of your manuscript, such as putting it before the “References”.
What DAS Describes
A DAS simply describes the availability of the data underlying your paper. Here, “data” means the dataset that supports the results reported, that would be needed to interpret, replicate and build upon the findings in the published paper. DAS can be very short; and it should tell your readers:
- whether the data is available
- where to find it
- under what conditions it can be accessed
Here are three examples of how DAS appears in an article:
Source: Calzolari et al. Vestibular agnosia in traumatic brain injury and its link to imbalance. Brain, 144, 1 (January 2021), Pages 128–143, https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/awaa386
Source: Gomez-Gonzalez, C., Nesseler, C. & Dietl, H.M. Mapping discrimination in Europe through a field experiment in amateur sport. Humanit Soc Sci Commun 8, 95 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-021-00773-2
Source: Danylo et al. A map of the extent and year of detection of oil palm plantations in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Sci Data 8, 96 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41597-021-00867-1
DAS Does Not Require Data Archiving or Sharing
When a journal requires you to include a DAS in your manuscript, it does not impose data sharing in open repositories. You may choose to share your data upon requests; or, you may not be able to share data due to various reasons. DAS only requires you to explicitly describe the situation with a simple and clear statement.
Scope of “Data” Involved
It is the authors’ judgement how much data and which data is qualified to be underlying data for a particular publication. It may be helpful to start with the “minimum” dataset that can support the findings. Sharing your whole set of raw data is often not necessary nor useful to your readers. You can think about which dataset is necessary and sufficient for your readers to interpret or validate your findings.
Journal Policies and Templates
Different journals have different policies regarding DAS; always check the policies of the journals you are submitting to. Some journals only encourage authors to include DAS, while some make it a requirement. They may have different formatting such as where the DAS should appear. Some publishers provide guidance and templates to help authors write DAS, for examples:
Even when the journal you use does not have such requirement, it is a good research practice to write a DAS for each published paper. Use these templates to get started.
— By Gabi Wong, Library
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published April 28, 2021
last modified March 11, 2022
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