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. We have striven to formulate a policy that promotes the full, open, and timely access to data without putting an undue burden on authors. We recognize that many authors have limited resources, and our policy attempts to respect the variety of constraints that authors may have.
To facilitate this requirement, the AMS has updated its Data Policy and Guidelines that discuss the policy guidelines and provide links to extensive examples of Data Availability Statements (https://www.ametsoc.org/index.cfm/ams/publications/authors/journal-and-bams-authors/formatting-and-manuscript-components/data-availability-statement-examples/). These examples reflect a variety of perspectives and do not assume a “one size fits all” requirement. The Data Availability Statement need not be long, and the statement does not count toward the word count limit. Authors simply need to explain how readers can find and use the data or why, in some limited circumstances, the data are not available. If data are for some reason unavailable, authors must make a good-faith effort to explain the circumstances. If no genuinely new data are created—for instance, the results are derived from public resources—then the Data Availability Statement may simply state that fact and identify the dataset precisely (this is one of the examples at the above URL).
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. We welcome contributors to and readers of the Journal of Climate to read the AMS data policy and to contact us with any questions or concerns.