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Stakeholder governance

“The scientific, educational, and charitable mission of Dryad is to promote the availability of data underlying findings in the scientific literature for research and educational reuse. The vision of Dryad is a scholarly communication system in which learned societies, publishers, institutions of research and education, funding bodies and other stakeholders collaboratively sustain and promote the preservation and reuse of data underlying the scholarly literature.”

This Mission Statement is from Dryad’s new Bylaws, which were approved this month by a vote of its Interim Partners. Since its inception, Dryad been guided by the idea that an enduring community resource requires stakeholder governance, and the Bylaws set out the structure of the membership-based organization by which that will be achieved.

The new governance structure vests financial and legal responsibility with a Board of Directors elected by the Membership. Members may include journals, scientific societies, publishers, funding agencies, universities and any other organization that shares an interest in Dryad’s mission. The twelve Directors serve as individuals, not necessarily affiliated with a Member, and serve – on a voluntary basis – for renewable three-year terms.

A diverse and distinguished list of twenty candidates accepted the nomination to run for the charter Board of Directors in an election held this May. The following twelve individuals were elected to assume office on the 1st of July 2012, and serve terms varying from one to three years.

  • Theodora Bloom, Public Library of Science
  • Lee Dirks, Microsoft Research
  • Simon Hodson, JISC
  • Marcel Holyoak, University of California, Davis
  • Brian Lavoie, OCLC Research
  • William Michener, University of New Mexico
  • Allen J. Moore, University of Georgia
  • Susanna-Assunta Sansone, University of Oxford
  • Eefke Smit, International Association of STM Publishers
  • Todd Vision, Biology Dept., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Michael Whitlock, University of British Columbia

The first face-to-face Board Meeting will be held this July in Durham, North Carolina, and the first annual Members Meeting will be held in May 2013. More background on the history and current status of Dryad’s governance is available at http://wiki.datadryad.org/Governance.

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Dryad’s new governance structure and cost recovery plan emerged from a consultation process that culminated in a meeting of the Dryad Interim Board in Vancouver, Canada in July 2011.  This was the third and final meeting of this temporary governing body. Over 25 representatives from a diversity of journals, societies, publishers and other organizations met at the University of British Columbia to review progress and chart the next steps for Dryad.

Vancouver maple tree, courtesy of Marcel Holyoak, via Flickr

In addition to the governance and sustainability plans, participants also made progress on a number of important policy issues. Several of these bear on what content Dryad will accept:

  • Software: Dryad is intended to provide a repository for code only where it does not otherwise have a better home. It is expected that Dryad will be used primarily for snapshots or “one-off” scripts that would otherwise be lost, rather than the maintenance of ongoing software projects that would be better hosted by a public version control system.
  • Other integral and supplementary materials:  Dryad will accept the full range of content that is currently hosted by the journal/publisher as Supplemental Online Material, and not restrict the repository contents strictly to data. This option will be provided to those journals or publishers that wish to take advantage of it.  Whether it be software, data, or other material, authors will still be asked to release rights to the content under the terms of CCZero.
  • Qualifying publications:  All content in Dryad must be documented by a publication. The Interim Board expanded the definition of qualifying publications to include not just those that have undergone peer review, but any legitimate publication with expert vetting, such as a doctoral thesis.

The report of the meeting is available here.   We extend particular thanks for the success of the meeting to the members of the interim Executive Committee: Marcel Holyoak, William Michener, Allen Moore and Michael Whitlock (chair and host at UBC).

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Gate at The British Library

Gate at the British Library
(source: gaspa)

The Dryad Management Board recently held their Winter 2009 meeting at the British Library Conference Center in London. The meeting was attended by 13 journal representatives and 4 members of the Dryad development team. A few highlights from the meeting:

Dryad now includes 489 data files in 163 data packages, though a large proportion of this content has been imported from the Systematic Biology archives.

The rate of submissions to Dryad is slowly increasing. Dryad has been able to accept submissions from authors since early 2009. Two journals, The American Naturalist and Molecular Ecology, have completed initial integration with Dryad, allowing their authors to use a more streamlined submission process. The Journal of Heredity is making progress on integration, and several other journals expect to integrate in the near future.

We are currently improving the user interface for locating and obtaining data. We are developing more sophisticated tools for curation, and we are working with several partner repositories to replicate content and provide federated searching services. For more detail, see the Dryad Development Plan.

The board discussed the role of identifiers in Dryad and whether DOIs should be assigned to Dryad’s holdings. Representatives from CrossRef and DataCite led discussions on the advantages of DOIs. The board unanimously recommended that each Dryad data package be given a DOI (a data package is all data associated with a single article). The executive committee will determine whether DOIs should be used at more granular levels (e.g., the individual files within a data package).

The longest discussion of the meeting focused on plans for transitioning Dryad from the current grant funding to a model that is more sustainable for the long term. Todd Vision presented a cost model created by the Dryad development team and consultant Lorraine Eakin. Consultants from Charles Beagrie Limited presented an analysis of expected staffing needs and potential revenue streams. The board provided guidance on the schedule and methods for pursuing revenue from a variety of sources.

Community engagement emerged as a critical factor in ensuring long-term sustainability. Towards that end, the board discussed many ideas for increasing the visibility of the repository. Notable steps include increasing the frequency of posts on this blog, having a more visible presence at scientific meetings, and expanding use of social networking tools like Facebook and Twitter.

Once the Dryad development team compiles all notes from the meeting, we will release a more detailed report.

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The first meeting of the Dryad Consortium Management Board was held May 21-22, 2009 at NESCent in Durham, NC. Representatives from over a dozen journals met to launch and plan for the future of the consortium. Topics discussed included board governance, repository sustainability, the Joint Data Archiving Policy, intellectual property, repository policy, interactions with journals and other repositories, repository software development plans, and community engagement.

Attendees included:

•    William Michener* (Ecological Applications, Ecological Monographs, Ecology)
•    Allen Moore* (Journal of Evolutionary Biology)
•    Mohamed Noor (Evolution)
•    Rod Page (Systematic Biology)
•    Michelle Tseng (Evolutionary Applications)
•    Marcy Uyenoyama* (Molecular Biology and Evolution)
•    Tim Vines* (Molecular Ecology)
•    Michael Whitlock* (American Naturalist)
•    Derek Wildman (Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution)
•    Harold Heatwole (Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology)
•    Pete Wagner (Journal of Paleontology, Paleobiology)
•    Marcel Holyoak (Ecology Letters)
•    Scott Baker (Journal of Heredity)
•    Erica Fleishman (Conservation Biology)
•    John A Allen (Biological Journal of the Linnean Society)

*=Executive Committee members

A summary of the meeting is available. The next meeting will be held Dec. 14 & 15, 2009, in London, UK, further information available here. Journals & editors interested in joining the Board and guiding the growth of data archiving and the development of Dryad should contact Todd Vision,  Associate Director for Informatics, The US National Evolutionary Synthesis Center.

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