The JMLA requires authors of Original Investigation, Case Report, and Special Paper articles to (1) place the de-identified data associated with the manuscript in a repository and (2) include a Data Availability Statement in the manuscript describing where and how the data can be accessed. Exceptions to this policy will be made in rare cases in which de-identified data cannot be shared due to their proprietary nature or participant privacy concerns.
Definition of Data
The JMLA defines data as the digital materials underlying the results described in the manuscript, including but not limited to spreadsheets, text files, interview recordings or transcripts, images, videos, output from statistical software, and computer code or scripts. Authors are expected to deposit at least the minimum amount of data needed to reproduce the results described in the manuscript. Data files should be accompanied by documentation describing the contents of the data files (e.g., data dictionaries, codebooks, readme files). Materials supporting the methodology described in the manuscript (e.g., survey instruments, rubrics, assessment instruments) are not considered data. These materials should be labeled as appendixes and included with the submitted manuscript as supplementary files.
Data Availability Statement
A Data Availability Statement should be placed in the manuscript at the end of the main text before the references. This statement must include (1) an indication of the location of the data; (2) a unique identifier, such as a digital object identifier (DOI), accession number, or persistent uniform resource locator (URL); and (3) any instructions for accessing the data, if applicable. An example statement is as follows:
“Data associated with this article are available in the Open Science Framework at <insert URL>.”
If there are no data associated with the manuscript, this must be indicated in the Data Availability Statement as follows:
“There are no data associated with this article.”
The Data Availability Statement will be included in the published version of the manuscript.
Exceptions to the JMLA Data Sharing Policy
Exceptions to the JMLA data sharing policy will be made in rare cases in which data cannot be shared due to their proprietary nature or ethical concerns. If data are not owned by the authors, the data source and contact information should be noted in the Data Availability Statement. If data sharing is not allowed by an IRB and/or would risk violating participants' privacy or confidentiality agreements, this should be noted in the Data Availability Statement, such as in the following example statement:
“Data associated with this article cannot be made publicly available because they contain personally identifiable information. Access to the data can be requested from the corresponding author and may be subject to IRB restrictions.”
Authors of manuscripts describing humans subjects research are encouraged to seek IRB approval for data sharing before their study commences.
Data can be placed in any repository that makes data publicly available and provides a unique persistent identifier, including institutional repositories, general repositories (e.g., Figshare, Open Science Framework, Zenodo, Dryad, Harvard Dataverse, OpenICPSR), or discipline-specific repositories that accept data of a particular format or in a particular domain. Repositories that allow restricted access to data are also acceptable. A registry of research data repositories can be found at re3data.org.
When possible, authors are encouraged to apply a license at least as permissive as a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY) to the data.
Authors can choose to embargo the data until the date of article publication.
Data Formats and Standards
Authors are encouraged to use open data formats, to prepare and share documentation of the data (e.g., data dictionaries, codebooks, readme files), and to otherwise use FAIR Guiding Principles to facilitate the understandability and reusability of the data. Data should be appropriately de-identified to prevent revealing the identity of research participants. The Medical Library Association, the JMLA, and individual members of the JMLA editorial team are not liable for any harm or damage resulting from the insufficient de-identification of data associated with JMLA articles.
Peer reviewers will not be explicitly asked to review the data, although they may request access to data that they consider essential to evaluating the manuscript. Peer reviewers may also make comments and suggest revisions to the Data Availability Statement.
JMLA Data Sharing Policy Workflow
At the time of manuscript submission, the editor checks that the Data Availability Statement appears in the manuscript and is as complete as possible. Placeholders can stand in for the repository name and persistent identifier if this information is not yet available and/or to preserve author anonymity during peer review. If the Data Availability Statement is missing, the manuscript will be returned to the authors for correction before it is sent forward for peer review.
At the time of manuscript acceptance, the editor notifies authors that they are responsible for making the data available as described in the Data Availability Statement. The final version of the manuscript must contain a complete Data Availability Statement that includes a functional persistent identifier before the manuscript is scheduled for publication and sent forward for copyediting.