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Read more about data articles and their contribution to FAIR principles

Publication on the Road to FAIR blog, linked to the OPERAS community, provides explanations and videos on the subject

22 june, 2022≈ 4 min read

What are data papers and how are they organized? A recent publication on the blog Road to FAIR, linked to the OPERAS RI (integrated by UC), is dedicated to presenting more details about this emerging type of publication in the scholarly landscape, how it is configured in the Social Sciences and Humanities (area focused by the OPERAS infrastructure), and how these publications can help in the discoverability and reusability of datasets, facilitating the achievement of FAIR principles.

One of the main characteristics of data papers, according to the text produced by OPERAS community manager Karla Avanço, is the central focus on the description of a dataset, including the conditions and context of its acquisition and its potential usefulness: data papers focus on the "what, where, how and who" of the data, rather than on the original research results.

Data papers are published as full-length peer-reviewed articles. Their inclusion in the scholarly publishing environment represents a shift in the organisation of knowledge, a blurring of boundaries and a change in priorities as the data paper interconnects datasets, articles, and metadata.

In the field of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), there is a common question on how research data is configured, as it can take many forms. Data articles have emerged, as the Road to FAIR text points out, from fields accustomed to presenting data and making it interpretable and verifiable. There are clear differences between data articles from the SSH and the hard sciences (STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). In this sense, two authors cited in the blog (Kembellec and Le Deuff, 2022) point out that the data paper should not be a space for debate and for the detailed presentation of research results, but mainly an accompanying piece of writing to the dataset and the associated project.

Regarding the relationship between data papers and FAIR principles, the major goal of the data paper in this context is to increase the potential for the findability and reusability of datasets. As presented in the blog text, most academic data journals are a product of the new ecosystem of Open Access, open (and big) data, and new forms of selection and dissemination, making them particularly interesting for FAIR requirements.

You can check out more details on the subject of data papers in the original post (this link), where the full list of references is available for consultation. The blog post includes as well a series of three videos dedicated to the topic of data articles (available on YouTube). The videos are based on interviews with French professors, researchers and academic journal editors, focusing on the definition of data articles, their ecosystem and their impact.

Check as well the GBIF's page on data papers: https://www.gbif.org/data-papers.