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Timeline for submitting data required to be online for a journal publication

A growing number of scientific journals now require that data (and sometimes analytical code) be archived online before a paper is accepted for publication. Some journals only require a valid link to a website where the data can be requested, but others require a formal DOI that links to the data in a long-term repository to ensure persistent access. Archiving your data in the GCE Data Catalog will satisfy even the strictist journal requirements because all GCE data sets include standardized EML metadata and links to data, and DOIs are generated when data are synchronized to the LTER Data Portal (EDI) for long-term archiving.

However, significant lead time is often required for processing data submissions, particularly from new investigators or students. Public release dates also need to be carefully coordinated with paper review and publication when DOIs are required because only data sets with publicly accessible files can be archived in the LTER Data Portal. Therefore IM staff may not be able to accommodate last minute requests to process data submissions needed for paper publication, leading to delays and frustration for all involved.

Below is the minimum timeline for submitting data and metadata (documentation) required to archive a data set for referencing in a publication. But keep in mind that IM staff workloads vary, and you should always submit data at the earliest possible opportunity to prevent loss of information and delays in processing. Data access through the GCE Data Catalog can be restricted when necessary to allow time to complete the associated manuscript.

  • 1-2 months before deadline (ideally before data collection!): Consult with IM staff on suitable data formats
  • 2-4 weeks before deadline: Send sample data files and geographic coordinates for study sites (when applicable) to the IM office for review
  • 2 weeks before deadline (ideally co-current with writing the paper): Fill out the Data Submission Form and upload data files
  • 1-2 weeks before deadline: Complete any required revisions to the metadata and data files
  • 1-2 weeks before deadline: Confirm whether public release and a DOI is required
  • 0-1 week before deadline: Request a data set citation and link to relay to the publisher

Also keep in mind that completing the Data Submission Form for the first time can be very time-consuming, often taking several days to a week to look up all the necessary information and respond to IM requests for more detail. Looking at metadata for similar data sets in the GCE Data Catalog (e.g. clicking on the "Copy as Template" link from the Data Set Summary page) can be very helpful for first-time contributors. A list of examplar data sets on a variety of research topics is currently being assembled, but in the mean time contact the GCE IM Office for guidance.

And keep in mind this friendly reminder!


(Contact Wade Sheldon for additional information)

submitted May 02, 2019


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants OCE-9982133, OCE-0620959, OCE-1237140 and OCE-1832178. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.