I find in my reviewing activities that the last few years I've encountered more and more papers that are "data dumps". They tend to be papers with lots of data but very little analysis, discussion, or insight. The authors love to present data, but the actual novelty and importance of the work is unclear due to the lack of analysis. I suppose this is in part due to the explosion of scientific work and publications.

Is there a name for this type of paper? Has anyone else noticed this trend?

  • 1
    Is "data dump" an unacceptable answer? By the way, is a data dump an invalid article in an appropriate journal? Data needs to be published somewhere. "We measured such and such, here are the results." I am reminded of a game we used to play with the CRC handbook, find the weirdest table. amazon.com/Handbook-Chemistry-Physics-John-Rumble/dp/1032121718/… How much analysis is required for the index of refraction of guinea pig urine?
    – Boba Fit
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 20:37
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    In the context of reviewing? I call them "Rejected".
    – Anonymous
    Commented Jun 7, 2023 at 23:49
  • This has to be very discipline specific. In my domain (software engineering), good "data papers" are pretty highly sought-after, and some conferences have special tracks for them. Good data is hard to come by, and the tendency of people is rather to hoard their data than share it too eagerly.
    – xLeitix
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 8:09
  • @BobaFit I'm not sure if others will understand the term "data dump", hence the question. And yes, whether a paper focused largely on data is appropriate does depend on the field. But in my field (chemistry, materials science) good analysis is many times the difference between average and great paper.
    – che_kid
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 20:20

1 Answer 1


Has anyone else noticed this trend?

Such a paper is not a very well-written paper. It looks like the writer padded it with data in order to stretch it out.
I have seen students do this, mainly because they write the paper in a hurry, a few days before it is due, and there is no time for them to do proper analysis of data.

  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 4:17
  • It seems you're 'answering' OP (2nd) secondary question. If so, kindly quote and answer appropriately. Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 4:27
  • Thanks. This is also a trend I've noticed with students. ;)
    – che_kid
    Commented Jun 8, 2023 at 15:55
  • You're welcome, che_kid.
    – vr518
    Commented Jun 9, 2023 at 5:14

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