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Data Availability Principles and Practice

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Science requires evidence. Making data available lets other scientists confirm results, uncover errors, or find new insights. Moreover, gathering data can be expensive and time consuming. Since the same data can be used for a range of purposes, making data available can be an efficient use of limited research resources. Doing so can also improve traceability and, thus, accountability when it comes to research findings.

These reasons and more lie behind recent efforts to promote data availability in research publications. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) recently updated its data policy guidelines (https://www.ametsoc.org/index.cfm/ams/publications/ethical-guidelines-and-ams-policies/data-policy-and-guidelines/) to require, among other things, that

Science requires evidence. Making data available lets other scientists confirm results, uncover errors, or find new insights. Moreover, gathering data can be expensive and time consuming. Since the same data can be used for a range of purposes, making data available can be an efficient use of limited research resources. Doing so can also improve traceability and, thus, accountability when it comes to research findings.

These reasons and more lie behind recent efforts to promote data availability in research publications. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) recently updated its data policy guidelines (https://www.ametsoc.org/index.cfm/ams/publications/ethical-guidelines-and-ams-policies/data-policy-and-guidelines/) to require, among other things, that

Denotes content that is immediately available upon publication as open access.

© 2020 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Science requires evidence. Making data available lets other scientists confirm results, uncover errors, or find new insights. Moreover, gathering data can be expensive and time consuming. Since the same data can be used for a range of purposes, making data available can be an efficient use of limited research resources. Doing so can also improve traceability and, thus, accountability when it comes to research findings.

These reasons and more lie behind recent efforts to promote data availability in research publications. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) recently updated its data policy guidelines (https://www.ametsoc.org/index.cfm/ams/publications/ethical-guidelines-and-ams-policies/data-policy-and-guidelines/) to require, among other things, that

Science requires evidence. Making data available lets other scientists confirm results, uncover errors, or find new insights. Moreover, gathering data can be expensive and time consuming. Since the same data can be used for a range of purposes, making data available can be an efficient use of limited research resources. Doing so can also improve traceability and, thus, accountability when it comes to research findings.

These reasons and more lie behind recent efforts to promote data availability in research publications. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) recently updated its data policy guidelines (https://www.ametsoc.org/index.cfm/ams/publications/ethical-guidelines-and-ams-policies/data-policy-and-guidelines/) to require, among other things, that

Denotes content that is immediately available upon publication as open access.

© 2020 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Keywords: Editorial

Science requires evidence. Making data available lets other scientists confirm results, uncover errors, or find new insights. Moreover, gathering data can be expensive and time consuming. Since the same data can be used for a range of purposes, making data available can be an efficient use of limited research resources. Doing so can also improve traceability and, thus, accountability when it comes to research findings.

These reasons and more lie behind recent efforts to promote data availability in research publications. The American Meteorological Society (AMS) recently updated its data policy guidelines (https://www.ametsoc.org/index.cfm/ams/publications/ethical-guidelines-and-ams-policies/data-policy-and-guidelines/) to require, among other things, that papers in its journals include a Data Availability Statement. Data do not need to be “open.” Authors simply need to explain how to find and use the data or why, in some circumstances, the data are not available.

Papers that appear in the Journal of Hydrometeorology (JHM) often involve very large datasets, not all of which are publicly available. Other papers may include social science data, which require different treatment because of confidentiality considerations. We do not wish to impose a “one size fits all” requirement that may serve as a barrier to authors. In fact, one of our goals in this endeavor is to ensure that no papers go unpublished as a result of this new AMS requirement.

The Data Availability Statement need not be long, and the statement does not count toward the word count limit. If data are for some reason unavailable, authors must make a good-faith effort to explain the circumstances. See the AMS example statements (https://www.ametsoc.org/index.cfm/ams/publications/authors/journal-and-bams-authors/formatting-and-manuscript-components/data-availability-statement-examples/) to gain a sense of expectations. Our editors are willing to work with authors to accommodate any difficulties or unique situations.

Thoughtful data availability requirements such as AMS’s benefit both the scientific community and society. Consistent policies and practices can help to reduce misunderstanding and divergent interpretations. While the data availability requirement should not be an obstacle to publication, at the same time, authors should not use exceptions to making data available as a way to evade their responsibilities. We encourage JHM’s authors and readers to familiarize themselves with the AMS data policy and to contact us with any questions or concerns.

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