British Ecological Society data archiving policy

Data are important products of the scientific enterprise, and they should be preserved and usable for decades in the future. The British Ecological Society thus requires, as a condition for publication, that all data supporting the results in papers published in its journals are archived in an appropriate public archive offering open access and guaranteed preservation. For theoretical papers the underlying model code must be archived.

The data underlying all the results presented in the paper must be archived in a format that allows a third party to interpret the data. The archived data must allow each result in the published paper to be recreated and the analyses reported in the paper to be replicated in full to support the conclusions made.  Authors are welcome to archive more than this, but not less.

Authors may elect to have the data made publicly available at time of publication or, if the technology of the archive allows, may opt to embargo access to the data for a period of up to a year after publication. Exceptions, including longer embargoes, may be granted only in exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the editor, especially for sensitive information such as confidential social data or the location of endangered species.

All papers must have a data archiving statement and data sources must be cited in the reference list (see submission guidelines).

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Suitable archives

 Authors are free to use any repository and are encouraged to use a repository that is best suited to their data and is most useful to the ecological community likely to access their data. The data repository used must guarantee preservation of the data and the data itself must be freely available (users must not have to request access to obtain the data). Data must not be uploaded as Supporting Information of an article. A repository that issues a persistent identifier such as a DOI or provides accession numbers is preferable so specific data sets can be referenced.  Below is a list of commonly used archives for ecological data. For software source code, we recommend the use of a public software repository with version control for the ongoing maintenance of software packages. Other archives are checked in house and authors may be contacted if the repository’s polices are not clear. 


Commonly used archives by authors in BES Journals


Data type




Used for all types of data associated with published papers. The BES is integrated with Dryad covering all cost of archiving the data (up to 20GB) and providing a streamlined process. 



Suitable for archiving all data types associated with published papers. figshare supports the archiving of any material relevant to scholarly advancement such as posters, presentations code.


Animal tracking data

Movebank works with animal tracking researchers to manage, share, protect, analyze, and archive their data.



Zenodo is an open digital repository for everyone and everything. Zenodo aims to share the long tail of small research results in a wide variety of formats.



Code stored in Github can be versioned and archived on Zenodo


Genetic sequence data

The GenBank database is designed to provide and encourage access within the scientific community to the most up to date and comprehensive DNA and molecular sequence information.

NERC Data Centres


The Natural Environment Research Council UK data centres are for NERC-funded research but similar repositories exist in other countries.


There are seven NERC data centres covering five areas:


    British Oceanographic Data Centre (Marine)

    Centre for Environmental Data Analysis which includes:

        British Atmospheric Data Centre (Atmospheric)

        NERC Earth Observation Data Centre (Earth observation)

        UK Solar System Data Centre (Solar and space physics)

    Environmental Information Data Centre (Terrestrial and freshwater)

    National Geoscience Data Centre (Geoscience)

    Polar Data Centre (Polar and cryosphere)

NERC-funded scientists must make their data openly available within two years of collection and deposit it in a NERC data centre for long term preservation.


Other archives used within Ecology and Evolution


Data type


Phylogenetic data


Microarray data

Gene Expression  Omnibus (GEO)

Microarray data

European Molecular Biology Laboratory

Protein sequences

DNA Data Bank of Japan

Protein sequences

Protein Information Resource

Protein sequences

EBI PRIDE website


International Tree-Ring Data Bank

Raw ring width or wood density measurements, and site chronologies.

Knowledge Network for Biocomplexity

Repository intended to facilitate the archiving of complex ecological and environmental research data.

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Third-party data, embargoes and waivers


Third-party data

It is the author’s responsibility to seek permission to archive the relevant data so that the data are publicly available.  In cases where there is proprietary data which is not owned by any of the authors and permission to archive the data is not granted, evidence of any refusals (e.g. email exchange) by third parties must be sent to the Journal Editorial Office. Where permissions are not granted for archiving data held in restricted databases or owned by private organisations the location of the data must be included in the ‘Materials and methods’ section of the paper including contact details for the organisation where the data is held .  These details must also be included in the ‘Data Accessibility’ section below the ‘Acknowledgements’. Where an author works for an institution that owns the data, the data associated with a paper must be archived.



At the time of deposition, authors may choose to embargo their data for up to 12 months after online publication. Longer embargoes may be granted at the discretion of the editors. These embargoes will provide the data creators the opportunity of first use of the data. Embargoed data must be deposited in an archive prior to publication but can be restricted from public view for the duration of the agreed embargo.


Sensitive data and waivers

For sensitive data relating to endangered species or protected locations, authors should transform locality details or provide an anonymised version of the dataset whenever possible. In situations when endangered species or protected locations cannot be transformed, when data access is politically or culturally-sensitive or when datasets include sensitive social data/information, editors may waive the archiving requirement.  Authors must provide a short explanation in the Data Accessibility section when the archiving requirement has been waivered.

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Why does data associated with papers published in BES journals have to be archived?

At present most ecological data are lost to science as they are stored unreliably or discarded by scientists when they look at new research areas, change careers, retire or die. To promote the preservation and fuller use of ecological data the BES requires the archiving of data associated with papers published within its journal portfolio.  Data reported in papers are invaluable to science even after the paper has been published for uses in meta-analyses, new research or quality control. By requiring the archiving of data referred to in the peer-reviewed literature each journal can play a role in helping researchers meet the requirements of funding bodies and support the long-term research that advances the science of ecology.


Why should I share my data?

It is increasingly common for funders and publishers to mandate data sharing wherever possible. Further benefits of sharing data include:

  • Increasing the impact and visibility of research
  • Encouraging collaborations and partnerships with other researchers
  • Maximising transparency and accountability
  • Encouraging the improvement and validation of research methods
  • Reducing the cost of duplicating data collection
  • Advancing science by letting others use data in innovative ways
  • Data can be cited in order to give credit to the data creator


The data associated with this paper have already been archived. Do they need to be archived again?

If data have been previously archived then they should not be archived again.  The original archive DOI or reference should be used as the source of the data.


What format does the data need to be in?

We do not recommend a single file format; rather the data should be archived in a format that follows community standards and is most useful to the community accessing the data. Non-proprietary files, such as ASCII text files and CSV are most appropriate, as this is more likely to ensure the files are readable in the future. Data should be archived in a format that is easily extracted from the files provided (e.g., by using CSV rather than PDF).

The necessary metadata must be provided with the data set so that the data set is understandable on its own. For example, this should include definitions for all terms, variables, names, row and column headings and precise locations. This is best provided in an accompanying file archived with the data. Data in their most raw form, such as videos, field notebooks or sequencing trace files are not required to be archived unless they are integral to recreating the results in the paper. For more information on effective data management, please click here for our data management booklet.


Once archived, who will own the data?

Although data will be publicly accessible, they will remain the intellectual property of the original collectors of the data. Any re-use of archived data must be referenced appropriately. Please see the terms and conditions provided by your chosen archive for details on their policies for data reuse and citation.


I have a large number of data sources, where should this information be included?

Authors of submissions that use data from multiple published sources (e.g. if the paper describes a meta-analysis) are encouraged to cite these data sources in the main text of the manuscript. This ensures that these references are fully indexed and their authors are given proper citation credit. For more details see citations to data sources.

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