The Paris Guidelines
In some fields, journals have played a major role in developing standards for data collection, sharing, and preservation. In 2004, for example, the journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics (MCP) developed standards for the management of protein data.a These standards were revised 1 year later based on community input, resulting in the “Paris Guidelines.”b These guidelines were made available in a checklist format, in a tutorial, and in MCP-hosted workshops to educate researchers about the details of the requirements for publication and data submission.c
MCP’s standard requires all relevant quantitative data to be made available at a level in which it is possible to reproduce the reported results. Methods can reference previously published standards but any deviations must be explained. In particular, authors must submit along with the manuscript the data that have the greatest potential for misinterpretation—for instance, mass spectrographic spectra for post-translationally modified proteins—for the journal to publish.
Data considered less important but worthy of access are recommended for submission to the journal as supplementary material to be deposited in a nonjournal repository, which therefore may not be archival.d In addition, an institutionally based government-funded data depository was recommended (“Tranche”) that has a distributed storage system similar to Bit Torrent, thereby lessening costly bandwidth problems caused by downloading large amounts of data over the Internet.
In this way the Paris guidelines ensure that the most important data are deposited for perpetual and accessible storage while second-tier data also are accessible without placing too large a burden on the journal as the sole repository for data.
Research data produced by scientists working within Federal agencies should, to the maximum extent possible and consistent with existing Federal law, regulations, and Presidential directives and orders, be made publicly available consistent with established practices in the relevant fields of research.
This principle is consistent with the Data Sharing and Access Principle stated above. This report advocates that the principle apply not just to federal scientists but to all research where results are publicly reported.