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Reviewer guidelines for Data Note articles

A review report provides the handling editor with the information needed to reach a decision and should instruct authors on how they can strengthen their research to the point where it may be acceptable for publication.

Data Notes put data central and the referees should review both the article and the data described by the article.

Article of this type describe a curated, Public Domain, CCZero or CC-BY-licensed dataset, and likely to be of broad utility. The dataset must be curated as detailed in this publication and archived for long-term reuse. Unlike with a Database paper, Data Notes focus on the data itself and not how the data can be graphically or otherwise explored.

Evaluation of a Data Note manuscript should focus on how well the paper describes the content of the data set, the method used to curate the data, and a description of how the dataset deposition complies with the FAIR principles. The peer-review process should remain focused on data quality and reusability, not specific interpretations.

When preparing a report, we ask referees to consider and comment on the following questions (see the author guidelines for additional detail):

  • Does the manuscript follow the expected structure and sections: Objective, Data description (with subsections Curation and FAIR-ification), Limitations, followed by the common sections Abbreviations, Declarations, and References?
  • Does the Objective describe the provenance of the data and how the data is expected to be used (ideally with CiTO annotation)?
  • Are limitations on the reuse described sufficiently?
  • Is data (re)used and software used following DataCite and software citation practices?
  • Does the manuscript include a table describing the data files presented in this paper?
  • Is the data curation using modern approaches and insights?
  • Does the paper explain how and where the data is made findable?
  • Does the paper explain which standards can be used to access the data?
  • Is the data made interoperable enough to be used with important open science resources?
  • Is a proper representation for the chemistry (SMILES, InChI, etc) used for the data set?
  • For the scientific domain of the data, are open community standards sufficiently applied?
  • To the degree that you have viewed the actual data files, did they appear complete and do they match the descriptions in the Data description section?
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