AGU FAIR Data Policy FAQs for Reviewers

What is AGU’s data policy?

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. 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.

In 2018, AGU and a large number of other Earth and space science publishers endorsed a Commitment Statement of the Enabling Fair Data Project to ensure data are open, FAIR, and curated in trusted domain repositories whenever possible and that other links and information related to scholarly publications follow leading practices for transparency and information. This project includes a common set author guidelines and FAQ’s around data, software, and samples.

What is FAIR data?

FAIR stands for Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable. The scientific data underlying published studies can be difficult to find and access, potentially hindering new scientific research. FAIR data ensures that well-managed and curated data can be easily accessed and reused to advance scholarship and application.

What is a FAIR repository?

A FAIR repository meets the requirements for FAIR data as outlined in the Enabling FAIR Data Project.

FAIR repositories provide core services that help maintain scientific data over time and support data citation, discovery, quality, and reuse. They provide knowledgeable quality control for data on certain topics and are connected with the research community for developing documentation standards and methodology. Some more advanced domain repositories also provide specialized online tools for extraction, visualization, workflow documentation, and fusion that support the FAIR data principles.

AGU offers a Repository Finder tool for authors to identify the most appropriate FAIR repository for their data.

What data must be deposited?

All data necessary to understand, evaluate, replicate, and build upon the reported research must be made available and accessible, including:

  • Data used to generate, or be displayed in, figures, graphs, plots, videos, animations, or tables in a paper.
  • New protocols or methods used to generate the data in a paper.
  • New code/computer software used to generate results or analyses reported in the paper.
  • Derived data products reported or described in a paper.

Are there special considerations for proprietary data or data protected under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs)?

If data is unavailable due to proprietary concerns or NDAs, authors must indicate this in their Acknowledgments. It is the Editor’s discretion to determine if the unavailability of data is acceptable.

What are my obligations as a reviewer under AGU’s FAIR data policy?

Review requirements surrounding data vary by journal. Please read any review instructions messages you receive for further guidance after accepting a review invitation, or contact the journal’s editorial office for questions.

Reviewers generally are under no obligation to review data or provide feedback on data statements. However, AGU acknowledges reviewers have important vantage points in the peer review process that could assist efforts in upholding FAIR data compliance.

Reviewers may help in the following ways:

  • Ensure data links work and all data is accessible
  • Evaluate data to ensure it is properly formatted, comprehensible, and includes key components
  • Identify concerns with data or data statements
  • Provide feedback on repositories they engage with
  • Offer suggestions to authors in bringing their data statement and availability in line with AGU’s policy

At what stage of the peer review process should I evaluate the manuscript’s data?

Reviewers are encouraged to evaluate the data at every stage. A thorough examination is most important at first submission.

When and how should I communicate concerns I notice with an author’s data or data statement?

Please contact the journal editorial office with any concerns.

What should I be looking for to identify data compliance in a manuscript?

Manuscripts must include information in the Acknowledgments section on how data can be accessed. Data presented in the article and/or supplemental material must be deposited in a repository, and “data available from authors” may not be used.  Personal repositories, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, are prohibited.

How does this affect data in supplemental material?

Data is permitted in supplemental material only if the data is also deposited into a FAIR repository.

Please contact the journal staff with any additional questions.