Best Practices for Data Publication in the Astronomical Literature

May 2022 • 2022ApJS..260....5C

Authors • Chen, Tracy X. • Schmitz, Marion • Mazzarella, Joseph M. • Wu, Xiuqin • van Eyken, Julian C. • Accomazzi, Alberto • Akeson, Rachel L. • Allen, Mark • Beaton, Rachael • Berriman, G. Bruce • Boyle, Andrew W. • Brouty, Marianne • Chan, Ben H. P. • Christiansen, Jessie L. • Ciardi, David R. • Cook, David • D'Abrusco, Raffaele • Ebert, Rick • Frayer, Cren • Fulton, Benjamin J. • Gelino, Christopher • Helou, George • Henderson, Calen B. • Howell, Justin • Kim, Joyce • Landais, Gilles • Lo, Tak • Loup, Cécile • Madore, Barry • Monari, Giacomo • Muench, August • Oberto, Anaïs • Ocvirk, Pierre • Peek, Joshua E. G. • Perret, Emmanuelle • Pevunova, Olga • Ramirez, Solange V. • Rebull, Luisa • Shemmer, Ohad • Smale, Alan • Tam, Raymond • Terek, Scott • Van Orsow, Doug • Vannier, Patricia • Wang, Shin-Ywan

Abstract • We present an overview of best practices for publishing data in astronomy and astrophysics journals. These recommendations are intended as a reference for authors to help prepare and publish data in a way that will better represent and support science results, enable better data sharing, improve reproducibility, and enhance the reusability of data. Observance of these guidelines will also help to streamline the extraction, preservation, integration and cross-linking of valuable data from astrophysics literature into major astronomical databases, and consequently facilitate new modes of science discovery that will better exploit the vast quantities of panchromatic and multidimensional data associated with the literature. We encourage authors, journal editors, referees, and publishers to implement the best practices reviewed here, as well as related recommendations from international astronomical organizations such as the International Astronomical Union for publication of nomenclature, data, and metadata. A convenient Checklist of Recommendations for Publishing Data in the Literature (Appendix A) is included for authors to consult before the submission of the final version of their journal articles and associated data files. We recommend that publishers of journals in astronomy and astrophysics incorporate a link to this document in their Instructions to Authors.


IPAC Authors


Rachel Akeson

IPAC Deputy Director


Bruce Berriman

Senior Scientist


Jessie Christiansen

Associate Scientist


David Ciardi

Senior Scientist

David Cook

Assistant Scientist


Benjamin Fulton

Assistant Scientist

Chris Gelino

Associate Scientist

George Helou

IPAC Executive Director

Joe Mazzarella

Senior Scientist


Luisa Rebull

Senior Research Scientist


Julian van Eyken

Associate Scientist