Data protection is an important element of the publication of a peer-reviewed article. Manuscripts are usually stored in some type of device (computer or laptop). It is also possible to store a copy of the manuscript on a disc or memory stick. It is essential to make sure that no one has access to these devices. It is beneficial to use some cloud-based options for the digital document storage. The use of several copies is important as files can often be lost or damaged.
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It is important to use valid passwords that are changed regularly. Validity can be ensured by the use of numbers, capital letters, some punctuation marks, etc. These passwords should not be known to anyone. When submitting digital copies to a peer-reviewed journal, it is essential to use their submitting system rather than send it via email. These systems are properly protected. Email is often more vulnerable.
As for hard copies of the manuscript, it is also necessary to pay attention to data security. The manuscript cannot be left in public places without supervision. It should have the author’s name and some credentials. The hard copy of the document should be sent via post or some reliable postal service. An effective data protection plan can be as follows:
- Create several digital copies and print out one hard copy.
- Store digital copies on the laptop and a cloud-based system.
- Develop valid passwords.
- Change passwords regularly.
- Send the manuscript via the journal’s submitting system.