Data papers

What is a data paper?

A data paper is a peer-reviewed document describing a biodiversity dataset, published in a peer-reviewed journal. Unlike a conventional research article, the primary purpose of a data paper is to describe data and the circumstances of their collection, rather than to report hypotheses and conclusions.

The original about this approach is the data paper manuscript is linked to a dataset hosted on a reliable and permanent website of resources. In our case, these websites are the IPT (Integrated Publishing Toolkit) platform of GBIF.ES and the international data portal GBIF (

Below, you can find some useful links to know more about data papers:

Guide for publishers (just in Spanish)

* The data paper: a mechanism to incentivize data publishing in biodiversity science

Why publish data papers?

Authoring clear, informative metadata is an essential step if biodiversity data are going to be discovered and used to inform research and decisions. This involves extra work, and data publishers need incentives to do it. In the absence of such incentives, too many datasets are published with poorly-documented metadata or, worse still, no metadata at all.

By publishing a data paper, you will:

  • Receive credit through indexing and citation of the published paper, in the same way as with any conventional scholarly publication, offering benefits to authors in terms of recognition and career building.
  • Increase the visibility, usability and credibility of the data resources you publish.
  • Track more effectively the usage and citations of the data you publish.

Data paper tools

Data papers contain basic sections from a traditional scientific paper. However, these sections are structured according to a known international standard for metadata (information giving context to data) as GBIF Metadata Profile (GMP), used by the IPT (Integrated Publishing Toolkit). GBIF has worked with Pensoft Publishers to develop a workflow for generating a data paper manuscript using the GBIF Metadata Profile with the IPT.

Currently, there are several journals accepting this kind of data related to biodiversity.

You can find more information about data papers on the GBIF website.

Data papers from Spanish authors published on the GBIF website

All data papers published by Spanish authors through the GBIF network can be found in this database. If you have published a data paper with biodiversity data shared through GBIF and you cannot find it in this database, please, contact us at