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Data Policy


The Biochemical Society and its journals published by Portland Press are adopters of FAIRsharing. The data deposition and other relevant requirements of this data policy have been registered at fairsharing.org. 

Data sharing is essential to research, it upholds the integrity of experimental findings being disseminated to support further discovery. In this way, data sharing is a foundation of trust within science. 

As a researcher, there can be many benefits to data sharing, including, but not limited to: 

  • Compliance with funder mandates 
  • Reducing duplication effort, thus investing in data integrity 
  • Supporting transparency in research 
  • Supporting peer reviewers 
  • Increased citations  

At Portland Press, we understand that the expectations of compliance with data sharing policies can be a challenge during submission of your research. Therefore, this Data Policy intends to outline the expectations for our research journals and to offer support at each stage of the publishing life cycle to facilitate timely submission and publication of your work. 


Pre-submission considerations for authors 


Please do not hesitate to contact the Editorial Office for support and any questions on this Data policy. 

Data Policy Statement 


A condition of publication for any research article in all Biochemical Society journals is that others should be able to replicate and build upon the published findings. 

Editors, therefore, reserve the right to decline publication of or reject a manuscript if data, experimental reporting or figures do not meet Portland Press’ data integrity, transparency, ethical or reproducibility standards that are described under the following sections.  

At Portland Press, we have adapted the submission process and platform to facilitate compliance with our Data Policy whilst minimising the impact on authors. This Data Policy provides guidelines to outline the expectations and to provide support at every stage of the publishing process.    


1. Data deposition and accessibility 


For the Biochemical Society’s research journals, data deposition is mandatory for certain datasets and strongly encouraged for the rest. This is not a retrospective requirement and will only be applicable to papers submitted after the implementation of this policy, as of 5 October 2020. 

Mandatory deposit is required for the datasets listed below: 
  • Structural/crystallographic data for both macromolecular structures and small molecules 
  • Protein and nucleic acid sequence data (this includes RNASeq data) 
  • Functional genomics and molecular interactions/proteomics/metabolomics data 
  • Computational models 
  • Genetics data (genetic polymorphisms; genotype data) 
  • Data deposition for all other types of data is strongly encouraged wherever this is possible. 

Normally, deposited data should be free to access. However, Portland Press journals will consider data being under embargo for a fixed time on a case-by-case basis. Please write to editorial@portlandpress.com in the first instance. 

Recommended repositories: Databases that could be considered for deposit are listed below. The format of the deposit should be that most appropriate for the data being deposited. This list is not exhaustive and will be updated from time to time.    

  • As a condition of acceptance/publication, mention of the dataset must be made in a Data Availability Statement within the article, with the dataset being referenced by a relevant accession code and/or persistent identifier (such as a DOI). A Data Availability Statement will be requested during the online submission form and should additionally be included at the end of the main manuscript text.  Further guidance on what information should be included in the Data Availability Statement can be found at the end of this policy. 
  • In cases where community-wide/structured repositories do not exist (and for datasets where deposition is not mandatory OR for cases where recommended repositories listed above are not applicable), data deposits should be made to unstructured repositories (e.g. Figshare, Dryad or institutional repositories). 
  • If your research/submission cannot comply with the data-deposit requirements (such as clinically relevant datasets), or if you require data to be deposited following an embargo period, please write to the Editorial Office in the first instance. 
 

2. Policy on availability of data and materials 


  • A condition of publication in the Biochemical Society’s research journals is that authors agree to make any materials, data, code and associated protocols (relating to their published research) available to bona fide researcher or reader requests without undue delay or qualifications.  
  • Data should be stored for a minimum of 10 years. Fair consideration will be given to the time elapsed between the request for data and publication of the article, if >10years. 
  • For peer review/during assessment/as required by Editors anytime pre- or post-publication: 
    • Any restrictions on the availability of materials or information must be disclosed to the Journal at the time of submission by including appropriate information in the Data Availability Statement.  
    • Supporting data must be made available to Editors and peer reviewers at the time of submission for the purposes of evaluating the manuscript. Supporting data included in a Data Availability Statement will be used to support peer review of a manuscript as required, but the datasets will not undergo full peer review. 
    • Portland Press Editors have the right to request any original data from authors at any point in the review or publication process, including after publication. Failure to provide such information on request could result in publication delays or revocation of acceptance, or formal publication of an Expression of Concern around the published article, or even formal retraction of the article if deemed necessary. 
  • At the time of publication, relevant datasets should be available (except for cases where an embargoed dataset has been agreed with the journal – see section above on data deposition) and there should be an adequate description of how the dataset has been processed (if relevant). 
  • If readers/researchers are meeting with resistance when seeking input from authors on unique materials/protocol details in published articles they should contact the Journal Editorial Office. 

If questions are raised about published articles, these will be dealt with according to our ethical policies and in line with COPE guidelines. 

3. Policy on reporting of experimental design and details 


  • A condition of publication in the Biochemical Society’s research journals, is that that all information necessary for independent replication of the experiment should be provided within the body of the article (in the Methods section).  
  • The Methods section should include: 
    • Full description of all critical variables required for independent replication. 
    • Information on the precise statistical tests used (including mention of any statistical software). 
    • Full information on controls (control experiments must be included in the body of the manuscript not as supplementary data or similar). 
  • Although supplementary data are allowed, control experiments should not be published in supplementary material and should appear within the Figures of the main article. (If indirect controls are presented, these may, on occasion, be more suited to appearing as supplementary material.) 

4. Policy on figures: preparation and presentation 


  • Wherever possible, authors should use full-data distributions that represent the variability and complexity of the data; box or scatter plots should be used rather than single-line representations such as bar graphs. 
  • Images should be minimally processed, and should accurately and faithfully reflect and represent the original data. Any image processing that has taken place should be clearly stated in the Figure legend.  
  • Adjustments, if unavoidable, should not enhance, erase, or misrepresent any information present in the original, including the background. 
  • Adjustments of brightness, contrast or colour balance, if impossible to avoid, need to be applied to the entire image and not select to areas, parts or features of the image. 
  • No specific feature within an image should be selectively enhanced, obscured, moved, removed or introduced. 
  • Combining images that should otherwise be presented separately is strongly discouraged as this may misrepresent the original data. If a composite figure cannot be avoided, dividing lines must be added between all relevant sections/lanes, and the composite nature of the image should also be described in the figure legend. 
  • Duplicated images within the manuscript should be called out so that any reuse of images, including control data, across multiple figures are explicitly stated and justified in the legend(s). 
  • During submission or peer-review, authors may be required to submit uncropped images of complete gels or other images for comparison to prepared figures. If original data cannot be produced to support peer review, the article may be rejected. 
  • Any manuscript where the Editors are unconvinced of the integrity of the figures may be rejected/may not be considered further for publication.  
  • More specific/detailed guidance on figure preparation and presentation:
    • Immunoblots should be presented in a way that retains information about antigen size and antibody specificity. Cropped images should retain sufficient area around the band(s) of interest, ideally including the positions of at least one molecular mass marker above and below the band(s). Immunoblot bands should be non-saturated, i.e. suitable for quantitation by densitometry. In addition, each immunoblot should be presented with an appropriate loading control, preferably from the same original gel. 
    • Please ensure appropriate controls are provided in immunoprecipitation experiments. Negative and positive controls are required, with the negative control being an antibody directed against a different antigen, and the positive control being a known interactor of the immunoprecipitated molecule.  
    • Nonlinear adjustments (e.g., changes to gamma settings) must be disclosed in the figure legend or in the Methods section.
    • For microscopy and other relevant images, a scale bar should be included to indicate the scale. 
    • FACS data should be presented at a resolution that enables a reader to see and understand the points and information, without blurring. 

Data Availability Statement 


As of 5 October 2020, all research papers submitted to the Biochemical Society’s research journals will require a Data Availability Statement to be included upon submission.  

This Data Availability Statement should indicate to the reader where data associated with the paper are available and how to access (including links, where applicable, to the online dataset). If data sharing is not applicable to the paper, for any reason, please indicate this and explain why this is the case. 

What types of data should be included in your Data Availability Statement? 

The Data Availability Statement should include information and access links for any mandated datasets (according to this Data Policy). The Data Availability Statement should include clear rationale if any generated or analysed data are not publicly available. 

Please do not include non-analysed data in your Data Availability Statement. Non-analysed data refers to data that were neither generated nor analysed for the study. If authors wish to acknowledge that other researchers have done similar work but have used different methods or techniques, please include this information in the main reference list of the article. 

Any restrictions on the availability of materials or information must be disclosed to the Journal at the time of submission. If your research/submission cannot comply with the data type specific deposit requirements, or if you require data to be deposited following an embargo period, please write to the Editorial Office in the first instance. 

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