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Research Data Management

Data Publication

Have you put a great deal of work into developing a data set as part of your research? Consider publishing it as a separate data paper for more citations! Data have been recognized as first-class research outputs in the sciences. Data publication facilitates the sharing of data in a standardized framework that provides value, impact, and recognition for authors and provides much more thorough context and description to support data reuse. 

According to a 2011 paper by Chavan & Peney in BMC Bioinformatics, “a data paper is a journal publication whose primary purpose is to describe data, rather than to report a research investigation. As such, it contains facts about data, not hypotheses and arguments in support of those hypotheses based on data, as found in a conventional research article. Its purposes are threefold: to provide a citable journal publication that brings scholarly credit to data publishers; to describe the data in a structured human-readable form; and to bring the existence of the data to the attention of the scholarly community” (3).

The benefits of data publication

  • Get recognition and credit for your work
  • Provide sufficient information to support data reuse
  • Verify and strengthen your research findings
  • Meet requirements for journals and funders

There are a variety of journals that publish data papers. Most data journals publish data papers that describe specific data sets. Some journals are dedicated to publishing only data papers and articles on topics related to data management and use. Others include data papers along with other articles types, such as research articles and reviews. Below is a list of journals that publish data papers:

For more data journals, check these sources:

  • The article by Walters (2020) has a list of data journals in their appendix and differentiates between "pure" data journals and journals that publish data reports but are devoted mainly to other types of contributions. They also update previous lists of data journals (Candela et al, 2015).
  • This blog post written by Katherine Akers, from 2014, also has a long list of existing data journals.
  • The Edinburgh DataShare Wiki page has more detailed information on a list of data journals, including their charge, subject area, and guidelines and policies. 


  • Candela, L., Castelli, D., Manghi, P., & Tani, A. (2015). Data journals: A survey. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 66(9), 1747–1762. 
  • Chavan, V., & Penev, L. (2011). The data paper: A mechanism to incentivize data publishing in biodiversity science. BMC Bioinformatics, 12(S15), S2.
  • Walters, William H. (2020). Data Journals: Incentivizing Data Access and Documentation Within the Scholarly Communication System. Insights, 33 (1), 18.