Data Papers

What is a data paper?

Science publication moves slowly towards Open Science, meaning that products of research should be made as much as possible openly available to the scientific community by mobilizing the technical features offered by the web 2.0. In this framework, Annals of Forest Science offers the possibility to publish data papers, alongside more traditional forms of science dissemination (research papers, review papers, etc….). Data papers aim at describing a dataset made accessible to a larger community. The data paper will be the citable reference for the dataset and is a valuable scientific production. It provides all required information for a large use of the data. A data paper is completed by a metadata file that describes the dataset, and by the dataset itself, made available in an open repository.

A three stage proposal submission procedure:

- Deposit your data in an appropriate repository

- Download templates and write your Data Paper manuscript

- Submit your manuscript and related files via our online system

1. Deposit your data in an appropriate repository

Datasets should be deposited in an appropriate public repository. The repository has to provide a DOI. The repository should be selected according to your expectations about license and open access.

If you are trying to find or upload a dataset,

will help you find the right repository. If you are affiliated with INRA, there will be the possibility to use the DOI service

2. Download the templates and prepare the manuscript for your data-paper available at:

You will provide a description of the data under the form of a metadata file, based on the template “data-set_paper.xlsx”. Once filled, the template is directly included into the catalogue. No change to the template’s structure is allowed. The metadata file will be made available by the journal through Geonetwork (Geographic Metadata Catalogue). “data-set_paper.xlsx” is a mandatory file. The metadata facilitate access to the resource, communicate on spatial information and meet the standards established by the INSPIRE EU Directive (Standard ISO 19115). “AFS_Template_Title_Page” and “AFS_Template_Body_Manuscript” provide guidance while preparing the data-paper manuscript.

These templates summarize the 'Instructions For Authors' available on the journal's website:

3. Submit your manuscript online with Editorial Manager

To submit, click 'Submit online' on the journal website of AFS:

or directly visit:

You will be asked to upload all the files needed to compose a complete data paper, i.e., a title page, the body of the manuscript, the metadata file, and a cover letter addressed to the editor. title page, body of the manuscript, and cover letter need be uploaded as separate files.

The metadata are best provided by filling the template “dataset_paper.xlsx”. This is mandatory. In addition, you are free to use different formats fostering reusability of the datasets:

1) a data dictionary describing all variables (text format provided as supplementary material during the submission stage); and/or

2) a data model to understand the link between tables /datasets (image format); and/or

3) a section in the body of the manuscript dedicated to the description of the metadata, as classically done.

4. Reproducible research

In practice reproducible data means peer-review process. If you wish to read our “Guidelines for Reviewers” reviewing a data paper, see the related blog post:

5. Flyer

If you would like to have all details concerning the procedure for submitting data papers on a nice flyer,

please download the flyer. (pdf, 11.2 MB)

Marianne Peiffer, Handling Editor of data papers