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Data Papers

The Belgian Biodiversity Platform promotes the use of database-derived data papers, a very simple technique that facilitates the publication of papers in scientific journals

A “Data Paper” is a paper intended for publication in a scholarly journal that describes a dataset or a group of datasets. A data paper describes data in a structured, human-readable form and brings the existence of the data to the attention of the scholarly community. 


Any scientist in possession of an interesting dataset is invited to publish a data paper with the help of an online tool, “Integrated Publishing Toolkit” (IPT) developed by GBIF and made available on the Belgian Biodiversity Platform website.

The process of publishing a paper derived from a digitised dataset consists of a number of simple steps:

  • The description of the data is entered (including information such as: the type of data, when, where, and in which context the date was accumulated, author information, etc. This description is called “metadata”).
  • From this description, the online tool generates a paper.
  • The paper is then ready to be submitted for the usual peer-review process.
  • Once the review is done, the paper that describes the data is ready to be published in scientific journals.

Here is an example of the first-ever peer-reviewed paper that was derived directly from a biodiversity metadata document, and published in an open-access journal:

Zookeys screenshot


Due recognition is given to the authors of data papers by being cited in scientific journals. Data papers also enable biodiversity datasets to be discovered and cited by others in international publications.

Belgian scientists may avail of the online tool on the Belgian Biodiversity Platform website and the support of an IT expert, who can help in the creation of data papers. Please send an e-mail to André Heughebaert that explains who you are and the subject of your dataset. André Heughebaert will then provide you with login details for the online tool. He will also provide assistance for the process of creating your data paper. 

last modified on 13 Dec 2012