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Top tips from an editor on how and why to launch an open data journal

Guo Huadong is a Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI). He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Digital Earth as well as Big Earth Data.Guo Huadong, Editor-in-Chief

Prof Huadong has over 30 years of experience in Earth observation. He specializes in radar remote sensing and Digital Earth science. He’s also published more than 400 papers and sixteen books. We caught up with him to find out more about his new open data journal and hear his views on open data.

The benefits of open data

Open data offers exciting opportunities because it allows researchers and authors to reuse and build on data. This then results in:

  • authors gaining more recognition and credit for data they produce
  • data becoming more visible and discoverable
  • maximizing the impact of your research

Taylor & Francis recently launched Big Earth Data with the International Society for Digital Earth (ISDE). The aim of Big Earth Data is to use open data to drive discoveries in earth science.

Where did the idea for Big Earth Data come from?

The ISDE promotes the development of Digital Earth in the world. The International Journal of Digital Earth (IJDE), published by Taylor & Francis, is the official publication of the society.

It’s one of the leading journals in the geospatial field. It’s also notable for being indexed in twelve databases. A unique journal on Digital Earth worldwide, Journal Citation Reports has included it since 2009.

With knowledge gained from publishing the IJDE, the society decided to launch a sister journal, Big Earth Data. The aims are to:

  • Strengthen the Society’s Digital Earth research on big data analytics.
  • Align with the United Nation’s 2030 sustainable development goals.

Why did you choose to launch an open data journal?

We’re now in the era of big data. Big earth data is a new area of scientific discovery and knowledge of Earth System Science.

Digital Earth is a global, big earth data project that monitors, measures, and forecasts natural and human activity on the planet. Its goal is to harness the world’s data and information resources to help explain our planet.

What’s the aim of your open data journal?

Open data involves accessing and sharing data for new purposes. It can therefore help scientific research to overcome data barriers.

The ISDE promotes the use of public open data in geosciences. We hope supporting open data policies will lead to the better use of data. This starts with gaining new information that helps lead to further scientific discovery.

How does Big Earth Data use open data?

Open data helps researchers access the data they need. The research community benefits from open data to generate more scientific findings. This is because researchers can reuse data to check research results from other scientists. And it aids research on data-intensive science.

Our open access, open data journal aims to provide a platform to promote:

  • big data sharing
  • analysis of human-earth processing

As a result, we transform our knowledge of the earth’s systems.

What can the data show?

Every day, we generate huge amounts of data that relate to human-earth processing. We have earth observations from space, air, and the ground. These provide us with a variety and volume of data on the earth’s surface.

We also have big data on the atmosphere, ocean, geochemistry, and geophysics. This data is vital to our knowledge of the earth and environmental processes. Analyzing human interaction and social economic changes helps us understand our living planet.

How can authors submit to the journal?

Authors should follow the open data policy to submit a data paper to this journal:

  • First, put your research data into a public repository.
  • Next, get a DOI for the datasets
  • Finally, in your paper, give an online link to the data repository with a data availability statement. Reviewers and readers can then download and access the data.

Any advice for editors thinking to launch an open data journal?

Open data is the call to the global scientific community. The Committee on Data for Science and Technology of the International Science Council promotes principles, policies, and practices for open data and open science.

Big Earth Data is keen to drive research using open data for human-earth science research. I hope it will set an example for other journals considering open data policies.

July 13, 2018

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