Focus and Scope
Open Health Data publishes data papers, which provide a concise description of a dataset and where to find it. A data paper is a publication that is designed to make other researchers aware of data that is of potential use to them for scientific and educational purposes. Data papers can describe deposited data from studies that have not been published elsewhere (including replication research) but also from studies that have previously been published in another journal. As such the data paper describes the methods used to create the dataset, its structure, its reuse potential, and a link to its location in a repository. It is important to note that a data paper does not replace a research article, but rather complements it. When mentioning the data behind a study, a research paper should reference the data paper for further details. The data paper similarly should contain references to any research papers associated with the dataset.
Any kind of health and medical data is acceptable. In addition, Open Health Data encourages the deposition of grey literature, such as research study protocols, data management plans, consent forms, participant guidance documents and white paper reports.
This journal publishes continuously, with papers coming online as soon as they have passed peer review.
Open Access Policy
This journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge. There is no embargo on the journal’s publications. Submission and acceptance dates, along with publication dates, are made available on the PDF format for each paper.
Authors of articles published remain the copyright holders and grant third parties the right to use, reproduce, and share the article according to the Creative Commons license agreement.
Authors are encouraged to publish their data in recommended repositories. For a list of generic and subject specific repositories that meet our peer review criteria, see here.
The journal’s publisher, Ubiquity Press, focuses on making content discoverable and accessible through indexing services. Content is also archived around the world to ensure long-term availability.
Ubiquity Press journals are indexed by the following services:
If Open Health Data is not indexed by your preferred service, please let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively by making an indexing request directly with the service.
Recommended repositoriesA list of repositories that meet our peer-review requirements and are recommended for the archiving of Open Health Data software will be added very shortly. Please contact usif you would like to recommend that we add a particular repository to our list.
|Discipline-specific repositories||General repositories||Institutional repositories|
|Open Health Data Dataverse|
eResearch South Australia
|Focus and suitability||Data can be uploaded to the Open Health Data Dataverse Repository designed specifically for papers in Open Health Data. We recommended this repository to authors because it is managed entirely by the Open Health Data editorial staff and ensures maximum interoperability between datasets and data papers.|
|Cost||Free for all Open Health Data authors.|
|Sustainability||The Dataverse Network is an open-source application funded by Harvard University.|
Depositing data into the Dataverse is currently done manually:
|Focus and suitability||The focus is for research data generated by researchers at South Australian universities, and in the South Australian government. The reason for this is that eResearch SA (the organisation that runs this service) is a collaborative joint venture of those universities, and exists to serve their research ICT needs.|
|Cost||Nil for the researchers described above|
|Licenses||Chosen by the researchers whose data is stored. We recommend the AusGOAL suite of licences in the first instance: http://www.ausgoal.gov.au/the-ausgoal-licence-suite/|
|Sustainability||Sustainability of all eResearch SA services is dependent on ongoing funding by the universities we serve.|
At the moment eRSA takes care of upload internally as part of our service. There is currently no provision for researchers to upload data themselves. Visit the website for further details.
|Focus and suitability||Dryad is an international repository of data underlying peer-reviewed articles in the basic and applied biosciences.|
|Sustainability||Dryad Dryad is currently applying for status as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit and is currently implementing a business model to sustainably fund its operations through deposit charges. It has received grants from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (USA), the Joint Information Systems Committee (UK) and the National Science Foundation (USA). Dryad participates in the DataONE network (the Data Observation Network for Earth, http://dataone.org), and is actively developing partnerships with other international data networks and scholarly publishing organizations.|
Depositing data associated with a Open Health Data paper in Dryad is currently a manual process:
|Focus and suitability||Figshare takes software from all subject areas, and is suitable for small to medium sized projects that do not require specialised curation.|
|Cost||Free. "Figshare gives users unlimited public space and 1GB of private storage space for free."|
|Licenses||"All figures, media and multiple file uploads are published under a CC-BY license. All datasets are published under CC0."|
|Sustainability||"Figshare is an independent body that receives support from Digital Science. 'Digital Science's relationship with figshare represents the first of its kind in the company's history: a community- based, open science project that will retain its autonomy whilst receiving support from the division.'"|
|Deposit instructions||To deposit data associated with an Open Health Datapaper in figshare, please follow these steps:|
|Focus and suitability||PhysioNet offers free access via the web to large collections of recorded physiologic signals and related open-source software.|
|Identifiers used||Permanent URI|
PhysioNet has operated without interruption since its establishment in 1999, with funding from the NIH. Its infrastructure and open-access content is replicated by ten independently funded public mirrors, and numerous private mirrors, in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia (see http://physionet.org/mirrors/ for links to the public mirrors). One of the public mirrors is maintained by the NIH's National Library of Medicine (NLM) in Bethesda, Maryland. If the PhysioNet project becomes unable to continue operation at some time in the future, the mirrors will be able to continue functioning as archives and distributors of PhysioNet's open access content. Users are welcome to establish their own mirrors; detailed instructions for doing so can be found at http://physionet.org/mirrors/mirror-howto.shtml.
Contributions that have not yet been transferred to open-access areas of PhysioNet are kept in password-protected workspaces ("projects") that are backed up by the PhysioNet project only (not by the mirrors). Using standard open-source software, the owner of each such project may create a fully functional copy of its protected workspace on standard PC hardware. If for any reason it becomes necessary to discontinue its services to the project, PhysioNet agrees to provide at least sixty days' notice to the principal investigator to permit the project to construct such a copy.
All contributions are developed and reviewed in password-protected workspaces on PhysioNetWorks before inclusion in open-access areas of PhysioNet. If you wish to contribute data or open-source software, begin by making a personal PhysioNetWorks account (see http://physionet.org/users). After doing so, see "How to create and manage a PhysioNetWorks project" (at https://physionet.org/users/help/pnw-howto.shtml) for details on creating a project (a password-protected archive) for your contribution.
|Focus and suitability||The Swedish National Data Service (SND) is a service organization for Swedish research within the humanities, social sciences, and health sciences. SND helps enable Swedish and international researchers gain access to existing digital data within and outside of Sweden.|
|Licenses||Determined by submitter: CC0 and CC-BY accepted.|
|Sustainability||SND is funded by the Swedish Research Council as a national center located at University of Gothenburg, and an important part of Sweden’s research infrastructure.|
To deposit data associated with a Open Health Data paper in SND please follow these steps:
|Focus and suitability||UCL Discovery showcases UCL's research outputs, giving access to journal articles, book chapters, conference proceedings, digital web resources, theses, datasets, software and much more, from all UCL disciplines. The repository also enables UCL researchers to comply with research funder policies on open access.|
|Cost||Free to UCL researchers.|
|Licenses||All open licences permitted|
|Sustainability||UCL Discovery is maintained by UCL, a major international research institution ranked seventh in the world's top ten universities by the QS World University Rankings (2011).|
|Deposit instructions||Depositing data associated with a Open Health Datapaper in UCL Discovery is currently done manually:|
|Focus and suitability||The UK Data Archive is curator of the largest collection of digital data in the social sciences and humanities in the United Kingdom.|
|Licenses||Any appropriate license accepted including CC0, Open Data Commons Licence, Open Government Licence (details).|
|Sustainability||The UKDA's organisation and activities are funded by the ESRC, the JISC and the University of Essex.|
Depositing data associated with a data paper with the UKDA is currently a manual process:
|Focus and suitability||ZENODO welcomes all research outputs from all fields of science in any format and size. ZENODO is furthermore integrated into reporting lines for research funded by the European Commission via OpenAIRE. Ubiquity Press therefore recoommends this repository for data funded by the European Commission.|
|Licenses||Any appropriate license accepted including CC0, Open Data Commons Licence, Open Government Licence.|
|Sustainability||ZENODO is developed and operated by CERN under the EU-funded OpenAIREplus project in synergy with other large services running on the same software such as CERN Document Server and INSPIRE-HEP. All uploads are stored in the same cloud infrastructure as research data from CERN's Large Hadron Collider. The entire platform is further more fully open - metadata is licensed under CC0, it's source code is licensed under GNU GPL and ZENODO furthermore allows harvesting of the entire repository by external sources.|
To deposit data associated with a paper in ZENODO please follow these steps:
- What kinds of data can I publish?
- What is a data paper?
- How do I submit a data paper?
- How does Open Health Data peer review work?
- Which open license should I apply to my data?
- Which repositories do you recommend for public health data?
- What are the criteria for a repository to be accepted?
- What does ‘open’ mean?
- What are the benefits of openly publishing data?
- Do I have to make my data open?
- How do I cite data?
- Do I have to pay to publish in this journal?
All kinds of data are welcome. We are particularly interested in data that may have reuse potential or which is required to validate your research. Many research outputs meet these requirements. For example:
- case study data
- computer simulation data
- experimental data
- interview and survey data
- neuroimaging data
- grey literature (white papers, consent forms, study protocols, etc.)
A data paper is a publication that is designed to make other researchers aware of data that is of potential use to them. As such it describes the methods used to create the dataset, its structure, its reuse potential, and a link to its location in a repository. It is important to note that a data paper does not replace a research article, but rather complements it. When mentioning the data behind a study, a research paper should reference the data paper for further details. The data paper similarly should contain references to any research papers associated with the dataset.
Please see our ‘how to submit a data paper’ page.
Please see our overview of the peer review process.
We recommend the following licenses for open data:
- Creative Commons Zero (CC0)
- ODC Public Domain Dedication and License (PDDL)
- Creative Commons Attribution (CC-By)
- ODC Attribution (ODC-By)
All of the above licenses carry an obligation for anyone using the data to properly attribute it. The main differences are whether this is a social requirement (CC0 and PDDL) or a legal one (CC-By and ODC-By). The less restrictive your license, the greater the potential for reuse.
We do not recommend licenses that impose commercial or other restrictions on the use of data. Generally, such licenses can prevent use of data by charities and the media, and make the remixing of data from various international sources legally problematic. At the same time, why impose commercial restrictions on publicly funded data, such that the public themselves are not able to build profitable or sustainable solutions that utilise it? There are of course some situations in which data must have a more restrictive license (e.g. funder requirements), and the editorial team will consider these on a case-by-case basis.
Please see our list of recommended repositories for examples. Other repositories may be acceptable, provided they meet the criteria below. Please contact us if you would like to discuss adding a new repository to the recommended list.
Data must be made available via a suitable repository. To meet our acceptance criteria, repositories must:
- be suitable for the type of data involved
- be sustainable (i.e. it must have funding and plans in place to ensure the long-term preservation of the data)
- allow open licences
- provide persistent identifiers (e.g. DOI, handle, ARC etc.)
The term ‘open’ in this context is well described by the Open Knowledge Foundation: “A piece of content or data is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share-alike.”
Allowing others to reuse your data leads to more efficient science, as well as new kinds of studies previously not possible that involve the combination of multiple data sources. At the same time open data can be reused by the wider public for a range of purposes including teaching, journalism and citizen science projects. These and other benefits are summarised in the diagram on our about page.
Making research outputs available for others to work with and build upon is part of the social contract of academia. Data papers mean that data you have released can be cited and that those citations can be tracked. This is not only an indirect measure of impact and therefore important for career progression, but it can also help you understand who is using the data, and lead to new collaborations.
It is difficult to argue that the results of publicly funded research should not be made publicly available, and many funding bodies are increasing the degree to which they encourage open archiving. We believe that the benefits listed above are already a strong incentive to publish data openly, but there are some occasions (e.g. source material copyright issues, subject privacy concerns) where it may not be possible.
Open Health Data will however only publish data papers for datasets archived with open licenses. Datasets that need to be partially redacted for legal reasons will be considered by the editorial team on a case by case basis.
If you use data from a repository that has been released under an open license then you are obliged to cite it (even under a CC0 license). By citing the data paper you also reward the author for sharing their data, as these citations can be tracked as for any scholarly paper (unfortunately there is no system for tracking the data citations themselves yet, which is another reason that a data paper is so useful). You should therefore include a reference to the data paper describing the data, followed by a reference to the data in the repository itself. In order for this to work it is essential that the citations are in the references section of the article and include the DOIs (or any other identifier the repository might use), e.g.:
Bevan, A. and Conolly, J. (2012) Intensive Survey Data from Antikythera, Greece. Journal of Open Archaeology Data 1(1), DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/4f3bcb3f7f21d
Bevan, A. and Conolly, J. (2012) The Antikythera Survey Project [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor] (http://dx.doi.org/10.5284/1012484)
If this paper is accepted for publication, you will be asked to pay an Article Publication Fee to cover publications costs.
If you do not have funds to pay such fees, you will have an opportunity to waive each fee. We do not want fees to prevent the publication of worthy work.
Ubiquity Press, the journal’s publisher, is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP). The Press recognises its responsibility as a guardian of the scholarly record and takes an active role in establishing standards and policies in publication ethics.
The Editors of Open Health Data have committed to maintaining high editorial standards through rigorous peer review and strict ethical policies. The Editors follow the COPE code of conduct and refer to COPE for guidance as appropriate. The journal and the publisher ensure that advertising and commercial interests do not impact or influence editorial decisions.
The journal uses anti-plagiarism software to ensure academic integrity.
Annotation and post-publication comment
The journal platform permits readers to leave comments on the publication page, via the Disqus service. Readers will need a Disqus account to leave comments. Comments may be moderated by the journal, however, if they are non-offensive and relevant to the publication subject, comments will remain online without edit.
The journal platform also includes in-browser annotation and text highlighting options on full text formats via hypothes.is. Readers will require a hypothes.is account to create annotations, and will have the option to make these publicly available, available to a group, or private.
Open Health Data was previously published as the Journal of Open Public Health Data (ISSN: 2053-2407). The title and scope of the journal were amended on 1 January 2014 to support a broader range of health research.