Until now, Methods and the other BES Journals have recommended that authors should archive any data associated with their papers; from 6th January 2014, this will be required for publication.

The thinking behind this is that all raw data should be preserved in a usable form for future generations of researchers; a third-party should be able to reproduce a study independently and perform their own analyses, thus minimizing the time and energy required to advance ecological science.

Authors are free to choose which data archiving site they use, as long as it provides public access and guaranteed preservation. Some suitable databases that authors could consider include: Dryad, TreeBASE, figshare, NERC data centres, and GenBank. Personal or institutional websites are unsuitable because they do not fully guarantee permanency.

Authors can also choose whether the data is made publicly available when the article is published online, or if the chosen archive site allows, they can opt to embargo access to the data for a period of time (usually up to a year, but this can be extended in special circumstances at the Editor’s discretion).

All of our papers will include a ‘Data Accessibility’ section containing the location of the archived data.

For answers to the following questions, have a look at our Data Archiving Q&A:

  • Why is there an expectation to archive data associated with papers published in this journal?
  • Where can data be stored?
  • How much data must be stored?
  • The data associated with this paper have already been archived. Do they need to be archived again?
  • When, how and where should the data be referenced in the paper?…
  • Some of the data associated with this paper are not owned by the authors. For example held in a restricted national/ international database or owned and held by a private organisation. How is this referenced?
  • What format does the data need to be in?
  • The data associated with this paper are sensitive, do they still have to be archived?
  • Once archived, who will own the data?
  • How should the ‘Data Accessibility’ section be formatted?

Of course, authors can choose not to archive their data and submit their article elsewhere for publication.

If you have any feedback, or questions that have not been covered in the Q&A, feel free to contact MEE: coordinator@methodsinecologyandevolution.org.