Skip to main content

Sharing your data, materials, and software

By submitting your manuscript to a BMC journal you agree to make the raw data and materials described in your manuscript freely available to any scientist wishing to use them for non-commercial purposes, as long as this does not breach participant confidentiality.

For all journals, we strongly encourage you to make all the datasets on which the conclusions of your manuscript rely freely available to all readers of your manuscript. You can either deposit your data in a publicly available repository (where available and appropriate) or present them in the main paper or additional supporting files. We also encourage the deposition of biological materials, such as plasmids, mutant strains and cell lines, in established public repositories where one exists. Any new software or code should be archived in an appropriate repository with a doi or unique identifier.

For several journals, deposition of the data on which the conclusions of the manuscript rely is an absolute requirement. Please check the journal’s instruction for authors to see if this applies to the journal where you intend to submit your manuscript.

Availability of data and materials section

You must include an “Availability of Data and Materials” section in your manuscript detailing where the data supporting your findings can be found. If you do not wish to share your data, please state that data will not be shared, and state the reason.

BMC endorses the Force 11 Data Citation Principles and requires that all publicly available datasets be fully referenced in the reference list with an accession number or unique identifier such as a doi.

A list of recommended repositories by subject area and data type is included in our editorial policies. If you have questions as to the suitability of a given repository, please contact the editor of your journal.

Publication of clinical datasets

If you use datasets containing clinical data, you have an ethical and legal responsibility to respect participants’ rights to privacy and to protect their identity. Ideally, you should gain informed consent for publication of the dataset from participants at the point of recruitment to the trial. If this is not possible, you must demonstrate that publication of such data does not compromise anonymity or confidentiality or breach local data protection laws, for the dataset to be considered for publication. You must consider whether the dataset contains any direct or indirect identifiers and consult your local ethics committee or other appropriate body before submission if there is any possibility that participants will not be fully anonymous. 

Software and code

Any new software application or custom code you describe in your manuscript should be available for testing by reviewers in a way that preserves their anonymity. Your manuscript should include a description in the Availability of Data and Materials section of how the reviewers can access the unreported software application or custom code. This section should include a link to the most recent version of your software or code (e.g. GitHub or Sourceforge) as well as a link to the archived version referenced in your article. For software in GitHub, we recommend using Zenodo for this. If published, your software application/tool should be readily available to any scientist wishing to use it for non-commercial purposes, without restrictions, such as the need for a material transfer agreement. If you are unable to make the implementation freely available, you should focus your manuscript on the development of the underlying method and not discuss the tool in any detail.