Data notes briefly and concisely describe sound research data with the aim of increasing visibility and transparency, supporting the reuse of valuable research data and helping authors to comply with funder mandates on data sharing. Data sets must be deposited in a recommended repository prior to submission. Completeness and accessibility of data sets will be checked during editorial evaluation (restrictions related to human privacy or public safety will be considered, authors should specify this in their cover letter).
Preparing your manuscript
The information below helps you with preparing your manuscript, details the section headings that you should include in your manuscript and what information should be within each section.
Please note that your manuscript must include a 'Declarations' section including all of the subheadings (please see below for more information).
Step 1: Deposit your data
It is a submission requirement that your data is deposited in a recommended data repository. A list of recommended repositories is available from our publisher Springer Nature.
Step 2: Complete the data note template
All authors are required to use the data note template provided.
Please ensure to follow the instructions in the template and complete table 1 including information on data file formats, data identifiers (e.g. DOI, accession number) and license information.
Step 3: Submit!
Submit your completed data note to the online submission system.
Please ensure you have followed the template instructions, and that your data have been deposited in the appropriate recommended data repositories (not attached as additional files).
If you have any queries while preparing your manuscript, please contact our editorial office.
Please ensure you adhere to the word limit of 1000 words (excluding list of abbreviations, declarations, table 1 and reference list). In addition, there are specific word limits for each of the following sections:
- Abstract: 200 words
- Objective: 300 words
- Data description: 500 words
- Limitations: 300 words
Apart from table 1, data notes must not contain any tables or figures. Instead, tables and figures should be uploaded to the repository and be listed in table 1.
Please aim to write their data note clearly and in a way that it can be understood by a broad group of scientists (non-specialists). Abbreviations and technical jargon should be minimized. Multiple related datasets can be described in a single data note if those datasets link to a common research project, share samples or study subjects.
Data notes published in BMC Research Notes are not copy-edited and you are responsible for ensuring your manuscript is presented appropriately and written in correct English (this includes seeking help from a language editing service if necessary). Manuscripts are language checked and we may reject manuscripts where authors fail to sufficiently improve the language.
The title page should:
- Present a title that includes a clear description of what the manuscript reports
- List the full names, institutional addresses and email addresses for all authors
(If a collaboration group should be listed as an author, please list the group name as an author. If you would like the names of the individual members of the group to be searchable through their individual PubMed records, please include this information in the “Acknowledgements” section in accordance with the instructions below)
- Indicate the corresponding author
The abstract must not exceed 200 words. Please minimize the use of abbreviations and do not cite references. The abstract must include the following separate sections:
- Objective: The purpose and objective of the data. Authors should briefly and concisely answer why the data was collected.
- Data description: Authors should provide a brief data description and think about why the data might be of value to other researchers.
Three to ten keywords representing the main content of the article.
In this section authors should provide information on the objective, i.e. why the data was collected. The aim is to give readers a bit of background to put the data in context. Authors must clearly acknowledge any work upon which they are building, both published (e.g. research papers you have published that are based on the same dataset) and unpublished.
Below are some pointers that might further help you when writing this section:
- Provide a rationale for the research and collecting the data. Keep this brief and instead of a lengthy description we encourage authors to cite sources that support their statement.
- Please do not provide a literature review. Authors can introduce the general topic in one or two sentences and then cite relevant review articles for the interested reader.
- Briefly (not more than one or two sentences) introduce the study/research project.
- Have you or your collaborators published papers based on the same data or different data that came from the same research project? If yes, then you must cite these. Papers under consideration should be mentioned in the cover letter.
- If the data was not analysed and/or written up in a research paper, tell us why. If there are any limitations then you might want to provide more details in the ‘Limitations’ section.
- If you have some thoughts on what the data can be used for or how it may help others, then do tell our readers at the end of this section.
In summary, we are looking for a brief and honest introduction to the data that in its core tells the reader where the data came from and why it was collected.
This section must not exceed 300 words.
This section should be purely descriptive and not offer an interpretation of the data. Authors may structure this section into subsections with short and informative headings and consider the following when writing this section:
- Data description – Provide a brief description of the data. What kind of data is being described? Provide an overview of the different files/file sets. Authors should refer to all data files and datasets from table 1 (please see below) within the data description section.
- Methodology – Authors should describe key elements of the methodology and state if the data was processed. This should be brief and similar in length to when describing methodologies in an abstract. In addition, authors are required to provide the full and detailed methodology description as a separate text document which should be uploaded together with the data to the data repository. The full methods description must be sufficiently detailed to allow others to reproduce the data.
- Compulsory table 1 – This table should provide an overview of all data files/datasets. Individual files such as tables, figures, code as well as the full methodology text document should be labelled ‘data file’ and be numbered consecutively. Larger collections of the same data type (e.g. a set of several hundred microscopy images) should be listed as ‘data set’ in table 1 and be numbered consecutively. Please refer to the data note template for more information.
Authors should refrain from discussing the data or providing an interpretation. This section should not exceed 500 words.
Authors must clearly state any limitations they see in relation to their data. Examples could be shortcomings that occurred during data collection, small sample size or outdated data among others.
We believe that all sound data is valuable and deserves publication. Honest and transparent description of any limitations does not prevent publication and is crucial for data replication and usability. Limitations may be presented in bullet point format.
The limitation section must not exceed 300 words.
List of abbreviations
If abbreviations are used in the text they should be defined in the text at first use, and a list of abbreviations should be provided.
All manuscripts must contain the following sections under the heading 'Declarations':
- Ethics approval and consent to participate
- Consent for publication
- Availability of data and materials
- Competing interests
- Authors' contributions
- Authors' information (optional)
Please see below for details on the information to be included in these sections.
If any of the sections are not relevant to your manuscript, please include the heading and write 'Not applicable' for that section.
Ethics approval and consent to participate
Manuscripts reporting studies involving human participants, human data or human tissue must:
- include a statement on ethics approval and consent (even where the need for approval was waived)
- include the name of the ethics committee that approved the study and the committee’s reference number if appropriate
Studies involving animals must include a statement on ethics approval and for experimental studies involving client-owned animals, authors must also include a statement on informed consent from the client or owner.
See our editorial policies for more information.
If your manuscript does not report on or involve the use of any animal or human data or tissue, please state “Not applicable” in this section.
Consent for publication
If your manuscript contains any individual person’s data in any form (including any individual details, images or videos), consent for publication must be obtained from that person, or in the case of children, their parent or legal guardian. All presentations of case reports must have consent for publication.
You can use your institutional consent form or our consent form if you prefer. You should not send the form to us on submission, but we may request to see a copy at any stage (including after publication).
See our editorial policies for more information on consent for publication.
If your manuscript does not contain data from any individual person, please state “Not applicable” in this section.
Availability of data and materials
All manuscripts must include an ‘Availability of data and materials’ statement. Data availability statements should include information on where data supporting the results reported in the article can be found including, where applicable, hyperlinks to publicly archived datasets analysed or generated during the study. By data we mean the minimal dataset that would be necessary to interpret, replicate and build upon the findings reported in the article. We recognise it is not always possible to share research data publicly, for instance when individual privacy could be compromised, and in such instances data availability should still be stated in the manuscript along with any conditions for access.
Data availability statements can take one of the following forms (or a combination of more than one if required for multiple datasets):
- The datasets generated and/or analysed during the current study are available in the [NAME] repository, [PERSISTENT WEB LINK TO DATASETS]
- The datasets used and/or analysed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
- All data generated or analysed during this study are included in this published article [and its supplementary information files].
- The datasets generated and/or analysed during the current study are not publicly available due [REASON WHY DATA ARE NOT PUBLIC] but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
- Data sharing is not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.
- The data that support the findings of this study are available from [third party name] but restrictions apply to the availability of these data, which were used under license for the current study, and so are not publicly available. Data are however available from the authors upon reasonable request and with permission of [third party name].
- Not applicable. If your manuscript does not contain any data, please state 'Not applicable' in this section.
More examples of template data availability statements, which include examples of openly available and restricted access datasets, are available here.
BioMed Central also requires that authors cite any publicly available data on which the conclusions of the paper rely in the manuscript. Data citations should include a persistent identifier (such as a DOI) and should ideally be included in the reference list. Citations of datasets, when they appear in the reference list, should include the minimum information recommended by DataCite and follow journal style. Dataset identifiers including DOIs should be expressed as full URLs. For example:
Hao Z, AghaKouchak A, Nakhjiri N, Farahmand A. Global integrated drought monitoring and prediction system (GIDMaPS) data sets. figshare. 2014. http://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.853801
With the corresponding text in the Availability of data and materials statement:
The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are available in the [NAME] repository, [PERSISTENT WEB LINK TO DATASETS].[Reference number]
If you wish to co-submit a data note describing your data to be published in BMC Research Notes, you can do so by visiting our submission portal. Data notes support open data and help authors to comply with funder policies on data sharing. Co-published data notes will be linked to the research article the data support (example).
For more information please email our Research Data Team.
All financial and non-financial competing interests must be declared in this section.
See our editorial policies for a full explanation of competing interests. If you are unsure whether you or any of your co-authors have a competing interest please contact the editorial office.
Please use the authors initials to refer to each authors' competing interests in this section.
If you do not have any competing interests, please state "The authors declare that they have no competing interests" in this section.
All sources of funding for the research reported should be declared. The role of the funding body in the design of the study and collection, analysis, and interpretation of data and in writing the manuscript should be declared.
The individual contributions of authors to the manuscript should be specified in this section. Guidance and criteria for authorship can be found in our editorial policies.
Please use initials to refer to each author's contribution in this section, for example: "FC analyzed and interpreted the patient data regarding the hematological disease and the transplant. RH performed the histological examination of the kidney, and was a major contributor in writing the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript."
Please acknowledge anyone who contributed towards the article who does not meet the criteria for authorship including anyone who provided professional writing services or materials.
Authors should obtain permission to acknowledge from all those mentioned in the Acknowledgements section.
See our editorial policies for a full explanation of acknowledgements and authorship criteria.
If you do not have anyone to acknowledge, please write "Not applicable" in this section.
Group authorship (for manuscripts involving a collaboration group): if you would like the names of the individual members of a collaboration Group to be searchable through their individual PubMed records, please ensure that the title of the collaboration Group is included on the title page and in the submission system and also include collaborating author names as the last paragraph of the “Acknowledgements” section. Please add authors in the format First Name, Middle initial(s) (optional), Last Name. You can add institution or country information for each author if you wish, but this should be consistent across all authors.
Please note that individual names may not be present in the PubMed record at the time a published article is initially included in PubMed as it takes PubMed additional time to code this information.
This section is optional.
You may choose to use this section to include any relevant information about the author(s) that may aid the reader's interpretation of the article, and understand the standpoint of the author(s). This may include details about the authors' qualifications, current positions they hold at institutions or societies, or any other relevant background information. Please refer to authors using their initials. Note this section should not be used to describe any competing interests.
Footnotes can be used to give additional information, which may include the citation of a reference included in the reference list. They should not consist solely of a reference citation, and they should never include the bibliographic details of a reference. They should also not contain any figures or tables.
Footnotes to the text are numbered consecutively; those to tables should be indicated by superscript lower-case letters (or asterisks for significance values and other statistical data). Footnotes to the title or the authors of the article are not given reference symbols.
Always use footnotes instead of endnotes.
Examples of the Vancouver reference style are shown below.
See our editorial policies for author guidance on good citation practice
Web links and URLs: All web links and URLs, including links to the authors' own websites, should be given a reference number and included in the reference list rather than within the text of the manuscript. They should be provided in full, including both the title of the site and the URL, as well as the date the site was accessed, in the following format: The Mouse Tumor Biology Database. http://tumor.informatics.jax.org/mtbwi/index.do. Accessed 20 May 2013. If an author or group of authors can clearly be associated with a web link, such as for weblogs, then they should be included in the reference.
Example reference style:
Article within a journal
Smith JJ. The world of science. Am J Sci. 1999;36:234-5.
Article within a journal (no page numbers)
Rohrmann S, Overvad K, Bueno-de-Mesquita HB, Jakobsen MU, Egeberg R, Tjønneland A, et al. Meat consumption and mortality - results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. BMC Medicine. 2013;11:63.
Article within a journal by DOI
Slifka MK, Whitton JL. Clinical implications of dysregulated cytokine production. Dig J Mol Med. 2000; doi:10.1007/s801090000086.
Article within a journal supplement
Frumin AM, Nussbaum J, Esposito M. Functional asplenia: demonstration of splenic activity by bone marrow scan. Blood 1979;59 Suppl 1:26-32.
Book chapter, or an article within a book
Wyllie AH, Kerr JFR, Currie AR. Cell death: the significance of apoptosis. In: Bourne GH, Danielli JF, Jeon KW, editors. International review of cytology. London: Academic; 1980. p. 251-306.
OnlineFirst chapter in a series (without a volume designation but with a DOI)
Saito Y, Hyuga H. Rate equation approaches to amplification of enantiomeric excess and chiral symmetry breaking. Top Curr Chem. 2007. doi:10.1007/128_2006_108.
Complete book, authored
Blenkinsopp A, Paxton P. Symptoms in the pharmacy: a guide to the management of common illness. 3rd ed. Oxford: Blackwell Science; 1998.
Doe J. Title of subordinate document. In: The dictionary of substances and their effects. Royal Society of Chemistry. 1999. http://www.rsc.org/dose/title of subordinate document. Accessed 15 Jan 1999.
Healthwise Knowledgebase. US Pharmacopeia, Rockville. 1998. http://www.healthwise.org. Accessed 21 Sept 1998.
Supplementary material/private homepage
Doe J. Title of supplementary material. 2000. http://www.privatehomepage.com. Accessed 22 Feb 2000.
Doe, J: Title of preprint. http://www.uni-heidelberg.de/mydata.html (1999). Accessed 25 Dec 1999.
Doe, J: Trivial HTTP, RFC2169. ftp://ftp.isi.edu/in-notes/rfc2169.txt (1999). Accessed 12 Nov 1999.
ISSN International Centre: The ISSN register. http://www.issn.org (2006). Accessed 20 Feb 2007.
Dataset with persistent identifier
Zheng L-Y, Guo X-S, He B, Sun L-J, Peng Y, Dong S-S, et al. Genome data from sweet and grain sorghum (Sorghum bicolor). GigaScience Database. 2011. http://dx.doi.org/10.5524/100012.
Figures, tables and additional files
See General formatting guidelines for information on how to format figures, tables and additional files.
Tamara Hughes, BMC, UK
Amelia de Salis, BMC, UK
BMC Series Blog
20 July 2020