Data papers as a new form of knowledge organization in the field of research data

Authors : Joachim Schöpfel, Dominic Farace, Hélène Prost, Antonella Zane

Data papers have been defined as scholarly journal publications whose primary purpose is to describe research data. Our survey provides more insights about the environment of data papers, i.e. disciplines, publishers and business models, and about their structure, length, formats, metadata and licensing.

Data papers are a product of the emerging ecosystem of data-driven open science. They contribute to the FAIR principles for research data management. However, the boundaries with other categories of academic publishing are partly blurred. Data papers are (can be) generated automatically and are potentially machine-readable.

Data papers are essentially information, i.e. description of data, but also partly contribute to the generation of knowledge and data on its own. Part of the new ecosystem of open and data-driven science, data papers and data journals are an interesting and relevant object for the assessment and understanding of the transition of the former system of academic publishing.