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Posts Tagged ‘sustainability’

An important milestone was reached when the Dryad organization officially recently adopted a cost recovery plan to ensure Dryad’s sustainability.  The plan was the result of several years of deliberation among Dryad’s Interim Partners, experts in sustainability, and many prospective Member organizations.

The plan identifies three primary funding sources. First are deposit fees, and there are several ways in which they may be paid:

  • A journal or publisher may agree to pay an annual fee based on the number of articles it publishes annually, in anticipation that a substantial fraction will have data deposited in Dryad.
  • An organization (typically, but not necessarily, a journal or publisher) may pay a fixed fee per data deposited. Vouchers may be purchased for bulk purchases in advance, or organizations may be regularly billed after deposits are received.
  • If the fee is not paid through the journal, society, publisher, or other organization, authors may pay the deposit fee at the time of deposit.

The deposit fee will vary among these options depending on transaction costs. It is expected that a Member-discounted prepaid voucher will cost approximately $50 USD.  Members will be entitled to receive a 10% discount.

The rationale for deposit-fees is several-fold.  First, collecting revenue upfront allows Dryad to make the data freely available to users and ensure that preservation costs will not be lacking down the road.  With a repository of sufficient size, most non-fixed costs are due to new deposits, and are incurred at the time of deposit.  Charging deposit fees ensures that revenues will scale with expenses and that funds are available to the repository when they are needed.  Furthermore, there are many different parties making deposits, and the number of deposits from different journals, institutions, investigators, etc., varies widely. Deposit fees have the virtue of distributing the costs among the many parties so that the amount required by each party is relatively small and varies in proportion to usage.

Another source of revenue will be annual membership fees, expected to be $1000 USD annually, which will confer voting rights, discounted deposit fees, participation in Annual Meetings, and other benefits.

Deposit fees and membership fees are intended to cover the operating costs of the repository. The third revenue source, funding from grants and charitable organizations, will be used for research, development, and new initiatives.  It is expected that this plan will be implemented in parallel with an endowment campaign, which may be used to reduce deposit fees, invest in new technologies, and help assure long-term sustainability. More details about the plan are available at http://wiki.datadryad.org/Business_Plan_and_Sustainability.

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Scaling up. Courtesy of Swamibu via flickr, CC-BY-NC

The US National Science Foundation, through its Advances in Biological Informatics program, has announced a new award of $2.4M over four years to Duke University (NESCent), the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill (Metadata Research Center), and North Carolina State University (Digital Library).

The award will enable Dryad to scale up its technical infrastructure to support the rapidly expanding user base of journals and researchers, ensure that the repository is meeting the needs of that user base, and to complete the transition to a financially independent non-profit organization.

This is one of a new breed of Development Awards being made by ABI, in which the review criteria judge the ability of the project to produce “robust, broadly-adopted cyberinfrastructure” with an emphasis on “user engagement, design quality, engineering practices, management plan, and dissemination”.

Repositories such as Dryad enable researchers to comply with funding agency expectations for long-term data preservation and availability, and we are grateful to NSF for its continuing support of this mission.

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Science is international.  Science publishing is international.  And so it stands to reason that science data repositories should be international as well.

We are pleased to report that the Joint Information Science Committee (JISC) in the UK has made an award to the Dryad project through its Managing Research Data Program.  Through this program, JISC seeks to ” fund projects to explore and pilot innovative technical and organizational models for enhanced research data publications… to stimulate the better management, more open sharing and easier reuse of research data.”

The UK partners in the project include Oxford University and the British Library (BL), with participation from the Digital Curation Centre, Charles Beagrie Ltd, and a number of major scientific publishing houses. The director of the project, Dr. David Shotton at Oxford, heads the Image Bioinformatics Research Group (IBRG) at Oxford, and has been a leader in the application of Web and Semantic Web technologies to enhance biological research data and publications.

The project will result in a UK mirror of the Dryad repository based at the BL, improve the tools available for the publication and citation of data, expand the disciplinary range of participating journals (particularly into epidemiology and infectious diseases), and further develop the business framework for an international organization dedicated to long-term data preservation.

The proposal (PDF here) emerged out of a Dryad-UK discussion meeting cosponsored by the Research Information Network, and held in London in April 2010.

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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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