Research data support pilot

To promote transparency and reuse of research, npj Breast Cancer is conducting a pilot to provide authors of accepted papers with enhanced editorial support to describe, share and link to the research data that support papers published in the journal. npj Breast Cancer, and our journal partner the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, wishes to promote robust, long-term access to research data - providing all supporting data files publicly or, where this is not possible, providing detailed data availability statements. The additional editorial support given to authors with this pilot aims to achieve this. This additional editorial support is provided at no additional cost to authors.

You can read more about this pilot in Dr Larry Norton's editorial and on the Springer Nature Research Data community.

The pilot involves a Research Data Editor from Springer Nature's Research Data Support services team working with authors before publication. The Research Data Editor will help authors ensure datasets that can be shared publicly are deposited in appropriate discipline-specific or controlled-access repositories, or in the journal's own data repository. The Research Data Editor will also help ensure that articles include detailed data availability statements including descriptions of datasets that cannot be shared publicly, and any conditions for accessing datasets. Research Data Editors will also create a rich metadata record for each published article in the journal's figshare repository, which also provides a place to publish supporting data files that have not been shared previously.

As a Nature Portfolio journal, npj Breast Cancer is committed to promoting reproducible research, and follows the data policies of this journal portfolio. For more information please see here. We anticipate that helping authors follow best practice in sharing their research data will increase the visibility of, and promote reuse of, research.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is involvement in the Research Data Support pilot mandatory?

A: All primary research papers (Articles, Brief Communications, Case Reports) that are accepted for publication during the pilot, which launched in February 2019, will be reviewed by a Research Data Editor and the authors will be required to take part. The service was offered optionally to select authors before the launch of the pilot.

Q: How much will it cost?

A: The additional editorial support from the Research Data Editors for this pilot has been covered by our partner the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, and there is no addition cost for authors.

Q: What information is provided in the data and metadata records created by Research Data Editors?

A: Working closely with authors and the journal's editorial team, and using a specially developed process, we capture key information (metadata) about datasets supporting the journal's papers. This includes file names, data types and formats, software needed to access the data. For clinical research data that are not publicly available we capture data storage and access requirements, and conditions of reuse. Unique identifiers for datasets that are deposited in third party repositories are also captured.

Q: Are authors required to deposit data in figshare if they have already shared their data publicly?

A: Nature Research policies suggest, and in some cases require, the use of discipline-specific data repositories, where they exist for an author's datasets. Authors will be given assistance to find discipline-specific repositories and when these are not available, Research Data Editors will help authors deposit their data into npj Breast Cancer's figshare repository.

Q: Is public data sharing now mandatory as a result of this pilot?

A: As per Nature Research's established policy, public data sharing in discipline-specific repositories is already mandatory for certain data types. Other than for these data types, this pilot does not mandate public data sharing for additional data types by npj Breast Cancer authors. It enables authors to follow good practice in data sharing, which may involve public data sharing, or providing detailed and robust information in data availability statements - depending on the type of data associated with the paper.

Q: What are the benefits of npj Breast Cancer's Research Data Support pilot?

A: This Research Data Support pilot for npj Breast Cancer will provide authors of all accepted primary research papers (Articles, Brief Communications, Case Reports) with additional editorial support from a dedicated Research Data Editor. We anticipate this benefiting authors and the journal's research community by:

  • Increasing visibility of published research

  • Supporting reproducibility by providing more consistent and complete information about data and data availability

  • Enabling reuse of research and avoiding duplication of research efforts

  • Giving researchers who share research data and metadata more credit for their work

  • Developing and refining standards and best practice for describing datasets supporting publications

  • Enabling compliance with funding agency and journal policies

During the pilot we will be monitoring author and editor feedback, usage of articles, research data and metadata. We will refine the editorial process and standards in our data curation process in response to feedback where needed.

Q: What is the difference between this pilot with npj Breast Cancer and Springer Nature’s Research Data Support service?

A: This pilot with npj Breast Cancer involves every accepted research paper in the journal being assessed by a Research Data Editor, and authors being given advice not just on datasets that can be shared publicly, but also on producing detailed metadata and data availability statements for datasets that cannot be made publicly available. Every paper published in the journal will have an accompanying data or metadata record in figshare, creating a comprehensive catalogue of the datasets that support papers published in the journal. Springer Nature's Research Data Support service, which launched in March 2018, is an optional service, which can be used by any researcher who has research datasets they want to make easier to cite, share and find.

Q: Can I see some examples of npj Breast Cancer papers that received Research Data Support as part of this pilot?