Data sharing in journals with double anonymized peer review

You may know that data sharing provides extra transparency into the research that has been undertaken, but did you know that including a data availability statement (DAS) can reveal information which could compromise a double-anonymized peer review process?

Depending on the data sharing policy in question, it could have different implications for the anonymization of the peer review process: 

  • For share upon reasonable request – authors are advised to include contact details for the member of the author team who will respond to sharing requests from readers.  

  • For publicly available or open policies – authors need to include a link to data stored in a repository. This would include information about who created and posted that data.

Both options would expose information about the authors to the reviewers, in a process which is required to be anonymous.

Please read this guide to learn how to comply with the data sharing policy of your chosen journal while maintaining the anonymity of double-anonymized peer review. 

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Guide for authors

In submitting to a journal which offers double-anonymized peer review, authors are required to prepare two versions of their manuscript, one which is anonymized to facilitate anonymized peer review.

There are a range of things to consider when dealing with different types of peer review, but in regard to data sharing, you must observe the following guidance.

  • For journals that offer a Share on Reasonable Request data sharing policy you should include a generalized data availability statement that states “data will be available on request” but not include the details of the specific author or their contact details in the anonymized version of the manuscript. 

  • For authors who want or are required to share data in a repository, there are a range of repositories (for example, under the public available, open data, or Open & FAIR policies) which have functionality available to host data files whilst preserving authors’ anonymity temporarily during peer review.

  • The live link to the full data set or the contact details of the authors should still be included in the DAS in the full version of the submission and cited in the reference list to be sure this is available to readers upon publication. 

Example repositories

  • Figshare – allows authors to create a peer review link for uploaded files. Note that this link is only temporary and the full Digital Object Identifier (DOI) should be used in the regular version of the submission.

  • Dryad – also offers ‘private for peer review link’ functionality ahead of data undergoing curation.

  • Zenodo – allows files to be uploaded as a restricted record to create a link to share with reviewers. Files should then be made available once peer review is complete and the article is published. 

  • OSF – allows files stored in a project to have a view only link created to preserve the anonymity of the authors during peer review.