Thank you Elizabeth! Our Associate Director moving on to new opportunities

In 2014 Elizabeth Hull stepped into the basement office of NESCent at Duke University to begin working with Dryad as a curator. Since then Elizabeth has worked in almost every role in the organization, leading curation efforts, business operations, communications, team building, writing grants, answering thousands of emails on HelpDesk, Interim Executive Director, Associate Director and most importantly connecting with so many researchers, librarians and publishers in our community. After so many years of service as a steward of Dryad and leader of the team, Elizabeth has decided to move on to new opportunities. 

As a team, we want to share our gratitude for her leadership, commitment, strength and grace under pressure and how she has welcomed and supported us all as team members. We will miss her work with Dryad, and her as a person on our team. 

As our Board Chair Caroline Sutton recently commented: “our continued presence as Dryad is a testament to Elizabeth’s standing in the community and among our staff as well as her skills and dedication.”

We know Elizabeth has supported, welcomed, talked with and listened to so many in our community over the years and made a significant impact. Please share any of your own notes or thank you’s with us or with her directly. 

Thank you Elizabeth, and we wish you all the best in your next endeavors!

Facilitating data sharing in times of crisis

Dryad has long committed to the sharing of open data, supporting authors in depositing data and providing FAIR curation to improve metadata and data quality. We believe this mission is important always, supporting the advancement of science, but in light of the current public health crisis related to COVID-19 we see the need for extra rapid curation and publication of pandemic related datasets. This public health crisis has changed the way we work as a society and has also changed scientific needs for rapid dissemination and analysis of research data and publications.

Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak we have seen amazing examples of the value of open data as well as the challenges of data variety, identifying sources and aggregating information. So many in the scientific community are putting exemplary energy and work into these efforts including Our World in Data, Nextstrain, The COVID Tracking project, GISAID and the GO FAIR Virus Outbreak Data Network to name just a few. These efforts are a tribute to scientists – as scientists and as people.

It is imperative that the community rapidly disseminate datasets related to COVID-19, and we must acknowledge that data quality is variable. Access to research data is critical, but it’s also essential that data are accompanied by high-quality metadata that can facilitate more effective and efficient reuse. Datasets need to be understood, checked and cleaned for personally identifiable information, standard metadata and accessible file types. Curation checks, while a slight delay in publication, can improve data quality for easier reuse and overall speed of the rate and quality of analyses.

During times of crisis when labs have closed down, we understand that many researchers are working with their previously collected data, applying computational approaches, analyzing or evaluating open datasets from other labs, and continuing to turn these data into knowledge. Dryad will continue to curate and publish all incoming research datasets, supporting all domains of research. 

We are also ever-conscious of the needs for rapid data curation and publication, and we are taking extra steps within the current climate to look out for public health, economic, sociologic and other datasets related to the pandemic. We are committed to working with the research community, including publishers and preprint providers, to facilitate the rapid and high-quality curation review and publication of any pandemic related data. Don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help.

This is one crisis that has the world’s attention that requires rapid, coordinated response. But there are so many other moments that are important in individual communities, to specific topics, or to global challenges that may not seem as fast moving, such as climate change. In all of these moments, data sharing that is efficient and data we can trust is crucial. At Dryad we are thinking about our current practices, as well as what we can learn for future situations, curating and publishing datasets, so we can all continue to go further together.

Dryad & Zenodo: Our Path Ahead

In July, 2019 we were proud to announce a funded partnership between Dryad and Zenodo. Today, we are excited to give an update on our future together. 

Dryad and Zenodo have both been leading the way in open-source data, software, and other research outputs publishing for the last decade. While our focus and adoption mechanisms may have been different, we’ve had similar values and goals all along: publish and archive non-traditional research outputs in an open and accessible way that promotes best practices. 

In looking to expand our capacities for sharing data and software, it became clear that we could each benefit from the other’s expertise. Dryad has long focused on research data, curating each dataset published, and working in close coordination with publishers and societies to support journal data policies. Zenodo, based at CERN, builds on strong infrastructure capacity and has focused on software publishing and citation. It was clear that by working together, leveraging each other’s expertise, we could better achieve our goals.

Notably, we believe researchers should have an opportunity to publish curated data, software, and other research outputs at a trusted, open source set of repositories in a seamless way.

At the beginning of February, we brought our two teams together to understand the repository systems, roadmaps, and to map our work ahead. We have broken down this work into a couple of segments and will be beginning with our first project, as noted on our Github, as “DJ D-Zed: Mixing Up Repositories”. In other words, we will be integrating our two systems to lower the barrier for researchers who want to follow best practices publishing their software, data, and supporting information. The first direction of focus is publishing from Dryad to Zenodo.

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So, what does it all look like?

This project entails re-imagining the Dryad upload interface to expand the scope of upload to accommodate researchers uploading more than data. Within this interface, through a series of declarations and machine reading, we will triage data, software, and supporting (other) files. Data should be curated and published at Dryad. Software requires a series of different license options, metadata, and other attributes and supporting files benefit from a previewer, so these files are more appropriately published at Zenodo. 

After curation, once the items are ready to be published, it is essential that we can link up the work with their DOIs and citations to both. As Dryad and Zenodo each mint DOIs for published works, it is our responsibility to expose the relationship between the software, data, and other citations so users can find all related work. The benefit of having separate citations for software and data will allow for more specified citation practices at journals, in preprints, etc. 

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It is essential that we acknowledge the importance of user testing. We have identified our minimum viable product, but the look and feel of this relies on close collaboration with our user experience teams and researcher user testing. This integration can only succeed if researchers find the benefits of using one entry point for two repositories, and are educated along the way about best practices for data and software. We’ll be planning opportunities for feedback at specific milestones, and appreciate comments via email or github comments along the way. 

What happens next

Our partnership relies on cross-organization co-development. Our teams have been spending time to understand how Dryad and Zenodo both function to ensure we are building for success for each of our user communities. Our initial user testing is about to ramp up, and we have begun the exploration into backend development to tie our systems closer together. As avid open-source supporters, all of our work will be tracked publicly on Github. Our code and documentation will also be available as new features are released.

User testing our workflows with researchers will help guide our development, but we also need to understand how this work can support Dryad and Zenodo’s larger communities: institutions, libraries, publishers, societies, funding agencies, and others that have a stake in research data and software publishing. We will have regular opportunities for feedback and we hope you will weigh in.

Check out our blogs for updates as well as our Twitter to hear about upcoming meetings we will be presenting at. And If you have feedback please as always get in touch with our Product Managers at Dryad and Zenodo.

 

Promoting our Open Source Communities

Dryad believes in the power and potential for Open Source solutions to tackle the challenges that face scholarly communications.  As part of this strategy, the Dryad platform is completely Open Source and our code is made publicly available on GitHub.  In addition, we are continuously striving to build partnerships with other Open Source projects and help grow the Open Source communities we rely on.

In an effort to promote and elevate Open Source projects from across the scholarly communications space, Dryad is proud to partner with eLife Innovation (elifesciences.org/about/innovation) and FORCE11 (force11.org) on a series of Open Source Community Calls. These calls are an informal way to discuss and learn about emerging and established projects that promote open approaches to publishing datasets, articles and preprints as well as discovery, evaluation, and more.

The goal of each call is to allow for Open Source projects to give updates on recent releases or significant changes. Each call will have pre-selected presenters as well as time set aside for additional attendees to jump in with their own updates. All webinars will be recorded and summarized for future reference.

Next Call: February 25

The next call will be on Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 8am PT / 11am ET / 4pm GMT.  Whether you have developments to share, or simply would like to listen in to hear what’s new, please register to join the call.

On February 25, we will hear from:

  • Popper, a tool that allows researchers to automate the execution and validation of computational and data-intensive experimentation workflows;
  • Outbreak Science Rapid PREreview (OSrPRE), a platform for the rapid review of outbreak-related preprints;
  • Open Climate Knowledge, a fully open, collaborative research project to gather climate change knowledge using data-mining and open publishing; and
  • Open Publishing Awards, update from the organizers of an annual celebration of the Open Source software that supports our publishing communities.

Please join us for a lively discussion as project leads and contributors from across the world share their work on exciting projects that are using cutting-edge technology to drive forward open science and research communication.

Join the discussion

More details about the presentations and the opportunity to contribute your own updates are on the open agenda. Please register to join the call.

The agenda is open to anyone who would like to present, in five minutes or less, an open-source project that has relevance to open science and research communication

Welcoming the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to Our Member Community

We are proud to welcome our first philanthropy to join the Dryad member community: Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).

By joining Dryad, CZI will cover the cost of curation and preservation for their grantees’  data publications, supporting them in following best practices for open data.

“The discoverability and availability of research data is a critical component of an open, reproducible, and verifiable scientific ecosystem, and Dryad provides essential infrastructure in support of this mission. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is pleased to join the Dryad community.”

– Alex Wade, Open Science Program Manager (CZI)

We are thrilled that CZI will be joining publishers and institutional members in lowering the barrier for researchers to publish their curated research data. For more information about our memberships and to join the community, get in touch.

Institutional member round-up and shout-out

As we settle in to the new year, we’re thrilled to report that Dryad’s institutional member community continues to expand and diversify. This should only pick up steam as we welcome our new Executive Director Dr. Tracy Teal next month, who brings significant community-building experience.

We applaud these new Dryad members in their efforts to support data stewardship and research on their campuses and beyond:

* (our first Australian institutional members!)

The Twitterverse seems excited by these developments:

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To join as an institutional member, contact us today!

Deep Roots & Strong Branches: A Recap and Preview of Dryad’s Development Plans

Happy 2020! Kicking off the new year, our product development team wanted to take a moment to introduce our development processes and provide a glimpse into Dryad’s future directions. 2019 was an exciting year with our growth of 15% in submissions and the release of our new Dryad. This release was the culmination of a year and a half of work building a new, combined product development team (at Dryad and CDL) and developing new features to support Dryad’s user base. Since then, the work has not stopped. Our team has been working to continually meet user needs and better our services. 

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Members of the Product Development Team launching the new Dryad in September, 2019 (Left to Right: Daniella Lowenberg, Ryan Scherle, Marisa Strong, Scott Fisher, Brian Riley)

 

The Dryad development process

The Dryad product development team follows agile methodologies, working and releasing in  two-week sprints. This means we prioritize feature development and bug fixes based on user needs (which are ever evolving). This work is tracked on our public project board here.  Feature development also includes working with our user experience team to design interfaces that are both accessible for and understood by our users. Outward-facing features are tested for specific user groups (researchers, curators, members, etc) before development and before each release. At the end of each sprint, we post our release notes covering at a high (and sometimes technical) level what was completed. 

This type of development work means that we depend on community feedback to help identify the features necessary for making data publishing as easy as possible and for ensuring that published datasets are usable. There are hundreds of features we would love to build or enhance, and hearing productive feedback from the community helps to guide our development priorities. If you have a feature request, or would like to report a bug, you may log a ticket here. Our product manager consistently grooms through cards and will be in touch with more questions when that work is prioritized.

What we’ve been building

In the last three months, we have been primarily focused on ensuring the new platform can support the growing Dryad community. This means building up a robust, accessible platform and enhancing researcher facing features.

One of Dryad’s key strengths is its high adoption rate. This means that the platform receives heavy traffic loads. To support these loads over the long term and as the user base grows, we have been putting in various reinforcement features like load balancing our servers, improving reliability of our downloads, and actively monitoring/blocking bots as necessary to ensure the site can avoid any downtime.

Our other development work has included addressing accessibility and feature optimization, including:

  • Adjustments to our interface to be a more accessible service for our users
  • Enhancements for the auto-fill features (journal name, institutional affiliations) to reduce lag and better the author submission process
  • Updating our DataCite schema, allowing for Dryad to send author institutional affiliations (RORs) to DataCite, enabling better tracking of dataset publications by affiliation and support consumption by initiatives like FREYA and Make Data Count.

This foundational work is key to strengthen the system and prepare for new feature development work in 2020 and beyond. 

Where we are headed

Continuing to work in our two-week sprints, we will be building essential features for the researchers using Dryad (e.g., integrations, geolocation) as well as more complex functionality for our growing institutional and publisher member communities (e.g., integrations, reporting, data metrics aggregation). We also have embarked on a couple of larger projects that we are excited to share.

  • Zenodo – Dryad Partnership: Following on our announcement in July, 2019, we have embarked on a project to integrate Zenodo and Dryad, with a goal to provide researchers with a more seamless data, code, and other materials publishing process. While the initial work has already been scoped, our official kick-off meeting is in a couple of weeks and we will update the community shortly thereafter with our project plans.
  • Editorial Manager & ScholarOne Integrations: Since many Dryad authors publish data in conjunction with an article, we have been building a direct integration with Editorial Manager, a leading journal submission platform. This work will allow for researchers submitting to a journal that uses Editorial Manager to have the option to publish their data at Dryad without actually leaving the Editorial Manager (article submission) system. We look forward to sharing more information about this implementation in the spring. We have also been working to map a similar integration with ScholarOne that will enable thousands of journals to integrate directly with Dryad.

Our open REST APIs are documented and available for use. We have been talking with undergraduate and graduate level students looking for coding projects to build integrations into our platform with R, Python, Jupyter, rOpenSci, and Binder. If you are interested in working with our APIs, get in touch!

We have a busy year ahead and we look forward to working with both researchers and research supporting communities, continuing to make data publishing as seamless as possible. Follow along our blog and twitter for further updates.