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.
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 In fact, one of our goals in this endeavor is to ensure that no papers go unpublished as a result of this new AMS requirement.
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.