New formats explained: data and method articles

2022-09-27

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At GEUS Bulletin we accept submissions of regular research and review articles as well as so-called ‘short-format’ articles.

These short formats are in the style of a technical note or rapid communication. But what are they exactly? Are they peer reviewed? And how can you prepare a submission?

In this article, we answer these questions.

Short-format articles

Short-format articles provide brief accounts of new research, a case study, literature review, method or data set, rapid publication of which may be of interest to scientists in the author’s field or a related field.

Authors can choose one of the following types of short-format articles:

  • RESEARCH ARTICLE | SHORT – to document new results from a research project.
  • REVIEW ARTICLE | SHORT – a mini-review of literature on a topical subject.
  • DATA ARTICLE | SHORT – to fully document a new or revised data set, so that it can be shared and used by others in future research.
  • METHOD ARTICLE | SHORT – to document a new or revised method, experiment, instrumentation network, software or model for adoption by other researchers.

Here, we focus on the DATA ARTICLE | SHORT and METHOD ARTICLE | SHORT formats. We explain what they are, how they are reviewed and how to prepare a submission.

If you want to read about our other short-format articles or our regular RESEARCH ARTICLE and REVIEW ARTICLE formats, please refer to our Author Instructions.

DATA ARTICLE | SHORT

This format is intended to document a new or revised data set and should be accompanied by a (DOI) link to the data in a recognised repository.

A data set could be the result of laboratory analyses, field data collection, a limited mapping project, a product containing secondary or re-analysed data, a collection of imagery and so on.

It is a technical note that focusses entirely on describing the new or revised data set, and does not require extensive background, interpretations or conclusions.

The data or a subsect of them may have formed part of a larger research paper that is in submission to this or another journal or that is published already. However, the Data Article should not be a repeat of such a research paper. Instead, authors should focus entirely on presenting and describing the full extent of the data set and methods used, so that they might be preserved, discovered and used by other researchers.

The data should be available to the peer reviewers and published alongside the Data Article in a recognised public data repository. Authors can choose to host their data (for free) in our data repository, where they are checked for adherence to FAIR data principles. Alternatively, authors can host their data elsewhere, for example in a repository hosted by their institution, research community or funding body.

See a recent example of this format here.

METHOD ARTICLE | SHORT

A typical Method Article documents a new or revised field method, experiment, monitoring programme or laboratory setup. It could also be a description of a new instrumentation network, software or computer model.

It is a technical note that focusses entirely on describing the new or revised method, and does not require extensive background, interpretations or conclusions.

In these papers, authors should provide all the detail necessary for a qualified person to, for example, reproduce the method or experiment or to use the software or model. Detailed descriptions of the processes and a list of materials used are encouraged. These papers should contain a section on method validation, and authors are encouraged to submit any accompanying data along with their submission.

Authors are also encouraged to supply supplementary information, such as photos, videos or other media that could help to fully explain and demonstrate the method or experimental conditions. This may include helpful advice in the form of ‘hints and tips’ that might not otherwise be presented in a regular research article.

How to prepare a submission

Submissions to both of these formats must be prepared using a standard submission template where authors are provided with a standard set of headings, and are submitted online, at www.geusbulletin.org/submit.

The template contains all the information required to prepare your submission. Currently the templates are only available in .docx format, but we will consider providing other formats if there is demand for it, for example LaTeX.

These submissions include a regular Abstract along with a so-called ‘Tabular Abstract’. Described in the submission template, this Tabular Abstract summarises key features of the data set or method.

Like the other short-format articles, they are limited to 3000 words for the main text, references, captions, acknowledgements and up to 4 mid-sized display items (figures/tables).

We ask authors to avoid a lengthy introduction, interpretations or conclusions. However, we do encourage submission of supplementary files. For example, to document more extensive background information that does not fit into the main text, but nonetheless provides helpful context about the study site or geological setting. In fact, authors can submit any number of supplementary files, which will receive their own DOI alongside the published article.

Download submission templates here and a PDF guide to preparing figures here.

Are these articles peer-reviewed?

Yes. All submissions undergo our usual process of in-house checks and external peer review by at least two independent experts in the field.

In reviewing these articles, we provide guidelines for the reviewers, where we explain what these formats are and how they should be reviewed.

A reviewer should consider, for example, whether the data set is sufficiently described and documented. Is the method valid and could a qualified person reproduce it? Does the method represent an advance that warrants documentation in this format? Do the data or methods contain fatal flaws that would prevent them being used by other researchers? Or do key aspects of the data or method require further description or validation?

Read more about the peer-review process for these and other formats in our reviewer instructions. 

Still looking for further information?

If you are sitting on a data set or a new or revised method that fits this remit, why not consider preparing a submission to one of these new short formats?

Go to www.geusbulletin.org today to get started.

For further questions about this and any other format, contact enquiries@geusbulletin.org or a member of our editorial team.