Reviewing Data Notes

A refereeā€™s report should provide members of the Editorial Board with the information needed to reach a decision and should instruct authors on how they can strengthen their paper to the point where it may be acceptable for publication.


Referees should feel free to request additional data sets or information when needed to support the data. Referees, however, should avoid asking for extensive follow-up experimentation, or confirmation of specific hypotheses or interpretations, which would fall outside the scope of a Data note manuscript. Indeed, referees should ask authors to remove in-depth analyses or new scientific conclusions from submitted Data Notes.


Evaluation of a Data Note manuscript should not be based on the perceived impact or novelty of the findings associated with the datasets. The peer-review process should remain focused on data quality and reusability, not specific interpretations.


When preparing a report, we ask referees to consider and comment on the following questions:


  • Experimental Rigor and Technical Data Quality
  • Were the data produced in a rigorous and methodologically sound manner?
  • Was the technical quality of the data supported convincingly with technical validation experiments and statistical analyses of data quality or error, as needed?
  • Is the depth, coverage, size and/or completeness of these data sufficient for the types of applications or research questions outlined by the authors?
  • Completeness of the Description
  • Are the methods and any data-processing steps described in sufficient detail to allow others to reproduce these steps?
  • Did the authors provide all the information needed for others to reuse this dataset or integrate it with other data?
  • Is this Data Note, in combination with any repository metadata, consistent with relevant minimum information or reporting standards?
  • Integrity of the Data Files and Repository Record
  • To the degree that you have viewed the actual data files, did they appear complete and do they match the descriptions in the Data Descriptor?
  • Have these data files been deposited in the most appropriate available data repository?