Journal Article

Announcing a new journal section: Data Papers

Studies in Family Planning is pleased to announce a new section of the journal devoted to Data Papers. Rather than reporting hypotheses and conclusions, Data Papers describe a dataset (or a group of datasets)—including its purpose, limitations, and novel contributions. Our goal is to promote interdisciplinary research and integrative analyses by making accessible to researchers, policymakers, students, and donors data that may be useful in answering critical questions of interest to our readers. 

In 2012, the London Summit on Family Planning adopted the ambitious goal of increasing access to contraception for 120 million additional women and girls in the world’s poorest countries by 2020. Our inaugural Data Paper, by Linea Zimmerman, Hannah Olson, Amy Tsui, and Scott Radloff describes data from the Performance Monitoring and Accountability 2020 (PMA2020) survey designed to be low cost and collect frequent estimates of key indicators for family planning, water, sanitation, and hygiene in FP2020 priority countries. The paper describes nationally representative data available from ten countries on family planning indicators, with rapid turnaround on an annual or more frequent basis. The authors note that the rare combination of facility and household data collected through PMA2020 allows researchers to assess both supply- and demand-side factors related to family planning. 

From its inception in 1963, Studies in Family Planning has been committed to publishing the most current, authoritative, and relevant research on sexual and reproductive health. Data Papers will replace an earlier, and no less innovative for the time, section of the journal called Data. The section ran from 1988 through 2016 and presented in a clear and accessible format select country findings of the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) shortly after they became available—including useful descriptions of the setting and survey. Over time, of course, much of this information has become available online, and we hope the new Data Papers will prove as valuable a resource as its predecessor was for many years. 

Data Papers are intended to complement our original research articles, reports, and commentaries. They will be indexed, cited, and promoted alongside Studies’ other work. We are open to submissions from large or small data, either new collections or aggregated existing data, with a preference for data collected in developing countries. 

The quality of Data Papers is ensured through rigorous but efficient double-blind peer review. Manuscripts should be no longer than 2,500 words. Longer works will be considered, but the additional length should be justified. Your complete dataset, as well as key data collection tools (e.g., questionnaires), should be openly available or available upon request. Please review our full author guidelines before submitting your paper: Submissions should be sent to:

Published in a peer-reviewed journal of the Population Council. Rachel Friedman is Managing Editor, Stephanie Psaki is a former Editor, and Jeffrey B. Bingenheimer is the Editor, Studies in Family Planning.