Research data: enabling peer review

We are starting to get requests to make data available for peer review prior to the journal paper being accepted. Some authors are happy for the data to go live in the repository with a note explaining the data is under review and may be subject to change. However, not all authors are happy with putting their pre-review data into the public domain and a better model would be restricted access. There are additional challenges associated with single and double blind peer review and any model based on the (institutional) repository will necessarily reveal the affiliation of an author due to the institutional URL.

Images from datasets in the Research Data Leeds Repository
Images from datasets in the Research Data Leeds Repository

Increasingly journals manage this themselves via a partnership with Data Dryad* or Figshare but not all have a suitable mechanism set up for access to data in addition to the draft of the paper. Moreover, such a journal-centric model will disadvantage institutionally based data repositories, potentially even render them obsolete (see pros and cons of journals handling data below).

* http://datadryad.org/pages/submissionIntegration

Might there be a role for Jisc here to build suitable mechanism into their shared service which, from a blind-review perspective would have the advantage of obscuring author affiliation?

Potential solutions

1. Make the data available in the repository. Don’t mint a DOI. Send the URL to the reviewers. Include a prominent note on the eprint record ‘This data is associated with a paper which has been submitted for publication. The data may be subject to change [date]. Full details of the associated publication and the final dataset will be made available in due course.’

2. Make the data available in the repository with access control. Repository account enables access to the dataset only from specific user account(s). Problem: this is not available yet (for EPrints)?

3. Share the data via OneDrive. This may not be suitable for double blind peer review. However, if the journal can act as a liaison point i.e. the editor is given access to the data on OneDrive, the journal could then provide access details to the peer reviewers. This could be a good solution if the journal is willing.

4. Share the data in another repository – Figshare, Zenodo – which supports restricted access prior to publication of a dataset. This is a good way to share data with a restricted group, but may not be suitable for single or double blind peer review – unless the journal publisher can act as the access gateway as in the OneDrive model outlined in 3. One downside – why bother to deposit in RDL if the data is already in Figshare or similar?

5. Ask the journal if they can help – there may be a mechanism for providing access to the data. This may not be in place. There is a risk data will become supplementary information or be deposited in another repository (if we see this as a problem) so reduces the role for RDL.

Hide Creator Hide reviewer Hidden to world
1 Data available in repository N N N
access through publisher N Y N
2 Data available in repository with access control N N Y
access through publisher N Y N
3 Share data via OneDrive N N Y
access through publisher N Y Y
4 Share data in another repository Y N Y
access through publisher Y Y Y
5 Ask journal if they can help Y Y Y
Jisc Shared Services? ? ? ?

Author: libnsh

Research Data Management Advisor

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