Data Policy FAQ


AGU’s Data Policy states that all data necessary to understand, evaluate, replicate, and build upon the reported research must be made available and accessible whenever possible. This FAQ page provides some additional recommendations and resources. Information on the history and context of the policy (from the 16 September issue of Eos) is available here.  Additional tools for practicing reproducible research are here.

Along with many other publishers, AGU has endorsed the Statement of Commitment of the Coalition on Publishing Data in the Earth and Space Sciences (COPDESS) and also the Transparency and Openness Promotion Guidelines (TOP).  Data should, to the greatest extent possible, be stored in appropriate domain repositories that are widely recognized and used by the community, follow leading practices for data curation, and can provide additional data services.  A directory of data repositories endorsed by AGU is here.

Q: What are the “best practices” regarding the research data, samples, and code associated with my publication and how can I follow them?

Some best practices are:

  1. Deposit the data in support of your publication in a leading domain repository that curates such data.  A directory of leading data repositories in the Earth and space sciences is here.
  2. If a domain repository is not available for some of all of your data, deposit your data in a general repository such as Zenodo, Dryad, or Figshare.  All can assign a DOI for deposited data, or use your institution’s archive.  Data should not be listed as “available from authors.”
  3. For small datasets, tables, or images you can also use supplemental material.
  4. Make sure that the data are available publicly at the time of publication and available to reviewers after submission (some domain repositories and also Zenodo, Dryad, and Figshare provide limited access).
  5. Cite data or code sets used in your study as part of the reference list.  Citations should follow the Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles.
  6. Develop and deposit software in github and cite that or include simple scripts in a supplement.
  7. Identify your samples with IGSN’s.
  8. List all funding sources (including in-kind support) in the acknowledgments and indicate grant numbers and funders in your submission in GEMS (we help connect your work to your funders).
  9. Include ORCID’s for all authors
  10. Use and follow these resources to develop projects that support reproducibility and integrity in research.

Q: What does AGU’s policy require of authors?

The Data Policy requires authors to:

  1. Include a statement in the Acknowledgments section of the manuscript indicating where readers can find the data that support or underlie the conclusions presented in the manuscript. The data can be in repositories (see above), the references, tables, figures, or supplemental material.  “Data available from authors” should be avoided.
  2. Confirm data policy compliance during manuscript submission in GEMS.
  3. Provide an explanation for unavailable data in both the Acknowledgments section of the manuscript AND the Cover Letter.  In general, not providing publicly available data (in a repository) will preclude review and publication.
  4. Cite published data sets in the references according tothe Joint Declaration of Data Citation Principles. See our citations guidelines for more information.  Some examples of data citations are here.

Q: If my data are in a repository, what should I do?

If your data are in a repository, and they have received a DOI or can be cited, please cite them as any other reference. The reference should include an identifier that links directly to the data sets. Include a statement in the acknowledgments that the data are listed in the references.

Q: What if my data are not available at the time of submission but will be at time of publication?

AGU requires that the data be available at the time of publication, and be available in some form for the reviewers to evaluate.  If your data will be placed in a repository later but before publication, please indicate that, as well as how reviewers can access it.  We will hold publications until the data are deposited.

Q: What if my study uses model output?

The relevant model data must be made available either as part of the paper or supplement or in a repository or other public database following community best practices (around larger datasets).

Code is included within the scope of the AGU Data Policy and must be made available and accessible whenever possible. We encourage posting of code on publicly accessible sites such as GITHUB or Zenodo other code repositories.

Q: What if data are taken from references?

Simply state in the acknowledgments that the data used are from cited references.  Please list all references in the main reference list (references do not count toward length limits).

Q: What if my paper is theoretical and/or contains no new data or modeling.

If your paper contains no new data, simply state that there are no new data or models in the acknowledgments.

Q: When do I need to provide information about data in the cover letter?

Explanations of data availability must be added to the Cover Letter when you are unable to provide access to your data. In general, lack of availability of data will preclude publication in an AGU journal.

Exceptions can be made for personal data that had to be anonymized.  In cases where data were purchased or acquired or have other restricted access, you should state how other researchers can appropriately obtain the data (for example, through standard releases to the third party). Complete unavailability of data at the time of publication will usually not be acceptable.  All such cases will be evaluated by the editors as to whether they are reasonable and meet the spirit of AGU’s position statement and policy.

AGU reserves the right to refuse publication when authors are unwilling to make the underlying data available or otherwise refuse to comply with the letter and spirit of the policy. If you do not provide a data access statement, your submission may be declined. This decision resides with the editor-in-chief of the journal.

See AGU’s Data Policy