Guidelines for Reviewers

Purpose of Peer-review

To guide the geoscience community as to the quality of the data, appropriate applications of them, and facilitate their re-use and reproducability of their development.

Peer-review process

The peer-review of a Data Paper submission will cover all three aspects of the submission to varying extents:

  • The data description document, which describes the experiment in a reader-friendly way and may contain quick-look plots of the data. This Data Paper should describe how the data were created so that the quality of the scientific method can be examined. It should also provide information on the importance, uniqueness and applicability to other purposes of the data.
  • The metadata – to clearly identify and describe the data.
  • The data themselves – usability and accessibility through the repository.

The format of the data description document will be a paper including abstract and references, as specified in the author guidelines. There will be a single clearly identifiable link to the data under review within the data description document. The data themselves will be held by a data repository that is approved by Geoscience Data Journal. The repository must also include software and/or format descriptions needed to read and manipulate the data, or the location of the open-access software that can be used for these purposes. The data should be accessible across platforms e.g. Linux, Mac and Windows. In addition to the metadata required by the repository, further metadata that facilitates re-use of the data may be required.

The three parts of the review (paper, metadata and data) could be conducted by separate individuals. A submission must pass all three parts of the review in order to be accepted. Key questions for the reviews are given below. Where a question applies to more than one
part it is duplicated.

Questions the review process of the data journal will consider

Review I – Data description document
1. Is the method used to create the data of a high scientific standard?
2. Is enough information provided (in metadata also) to enable the data to be re-used or the dataset development to be repeated?
3. Does the document provide a comprehensive description of all the data that are there?
4. Do the data make an important and unique contribution to the geosciences?
5. What range of applications to geosciences do they have?
6. Are all contributors and existing work acknowledged?
7. Does the Data Paper contain sufficient citation information of the dataset, eg dataset DOI, name of data centre etc. (see here for necessary dataset citation details)

Review II - metadata
8. Does the metadata establish the ownership of the data fairly?
9. Is enough information provided (in data description document also) to enable the data to be re-used or the dataset development to be repeated?
10. Are the data present as described, and accessible from a registered repository using the software provided?

Review III – the data themselves
11. Are the data easily readable, E.g. do they use standard or community formats?
12. Are the data of high quality e.g. are error limits and quality statements adequate to assess fitness for purpose, is spatial or temporal coverage good enough to make the data useable?
13. Are the data values physically possible and plausible?
14. Are there missing data that might compromise its usefulness?

Geoscience Data Journal will also accept publications about data services, or topics which inform and support data publishing best practices. These publications are to be reviewed with the following questions in mind:

  • Will this information assist the geoscience community in the development of improved datasets?
  • Does the publication provide tangible and useful data services or support (e.g. data preparation method or tool) that could be expanded to other datasets?
  • Does the publication make a unique and valuable contribution to the field of geoscience dataset development and services?
  • Is the paper easily readable with clear and concise goals and structure?

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