Publication Blackout

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This page describes the Publication Blackout feature that is part of the submission system workflow.


Data packages are often submitted to Dryad before the associated publication is published. When packages are approved, their DOIs are registered with the metadata from the submission. If this happens before the article is published, the submission's metadata is registered with the DOI and made public. This is a concern because it discloses information about the publication before it is published, and may be undesirable to the author and/or journal. While individual files may be embargoed, this only prevents their download, it does not suppress metadata about the publication or files.

Historically this concern had been addressed by keeping items in the curation workflow and assigning them to a specific owner (Dryad Queue) until after they are published. This prevented the metadata from being exposed prematurely. However, it also meant that DOIs for such items would not be registered until sometime after the article is published. This meant that data for recently published articles was often unavailable - until someone notices the article has been published and approves the item into the archive.

This also leads to confusion with the payment system. Payment is authorized at the time of submission but not finalized until the items are approved. With items held in the workflow, collection of final payment could be delayed by weeks or months, which leads to a poor experience for the submitters.

Publication Blackout addresses these issues by providing curators with an option to approve a data package and register a DOI without sending it to the public archive. Rather, the item is sent through the publication blackout workflow, where:

  1. Payment is finalized
  2. A DOI is registered with minimal metadata. The metadata is enough to uniquely identify the object, but does not disclose any information about the publication associated with the data package.
  3. The submitter is notified that their submission has been approved and provided the DOI
  4. The submission lands in the publication blackout state, waiting for a curator to move it into the archive.


  1. When considering an item in primary curation, you will be presented with two approval options: Approve and Approve with Blackout
    • One of these two options will be recommended based on the journal configuration
    • Approval and Blackout Options
  2. When an item is sent to publication blackout, a DOI will be registered with minimal metadata
    • DOI Registration with Blackout Metadata
  3. After the article is published, the item can be claimed from blackout and sent to the archive
    • Exit Publication Blackout
  4. Upon approval, the item will be archived and made public with full metadata

Technical Documentation

Submission System Workflow: Publication Blackout

Design History

Trello Card 17: Make publication blackout fully functional