Biodiversity data should be published, cited, and peer reviewed

Costello MJ, Michener WK, Gahegan M, et al (2013) Biodiversity data should be published, cited, and peer reviewed. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 28:454–461. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2013.05.002

Concerns over data quality impede the use of public biodiversity databases and subsequent benefits to society. Data publication could follow the well-established publication process: with automated quality checks, peer review, and editorial decisions. This would improve data accuracy, reduce the need for users to ‘clean’ the data, and might increase data use. Authors and editors would get due credit for a peer-reviewed (data) publication through use and citation metrics. Adopting standards related to data citation, accessibility, metadata, and quality control would facilitate integration of data across data sets. Here, we propose a staged publication process involving editorial and technical quality controls, of which the final (and optional) stage includes peer review, the most meritorious publication standard in science.