Building on our Successes: Past and Present

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With the release of our new platform, we wanted to reflect on past successes and share our plans for the future. In this post we highlight how we have built upon Dryad’s historical strength and success to create an even better data service, and how we have expanded our mission and business model to broaden access and usage, and deepen community engagement.

Same mission, new team

In May of 2018, Dryad and the California Digital Library (CDL) partnered to accelerate research data publishing. The partnership has focused on the assessment and revamp of Dryad’s policies and infrastructure, ensuring that Dryad’s service is aligned with the data publishing infrastructure and support needs of the scholarly research community. Dryad’s primary mission continues to be to provide a platform for research data to be curated, published, and shared openly across research communities. 

It has been a very productive year for Dryad. In partnership with CDL, we have upgraded many of our day-to-day operations. For example, our product development team now includes staff from both CDL and Dryad working together on new features and integrations, and rebuilding the architecture underlying our service. However, the partnership does not change the overall mission of Dryad or the way the organization is governed. We remain an independent 501(c)3 governed by a 12-person board, with directors elected by members and representing diverse stakeholders, including representatives from research, data infrastructure, journal publishing, libraries, and research organizations.  

Same vision, new leadership

This month, the Dryad Board of Directors welcomes Caroline Sutton as our new Board Chair. As she takes on this role, we are grateful to our outgoing Board Chair, Chuck Fox. In addition, we thank one of our co-founders, Todd Vision, who is stepping down from the Board of Directors this year after 12 years of service. Throughout his time with Dryad, Todd’s discernment and leadership has been a lodestar for the organization. It has proven essential to Dryad’s growth and its commitment to the mission of promoting data sharing. Todd carries with him the living history of Dryad, and while we know he will continue to support Dryad in many ways, we will miss his input at Board meetings.

In addition to changes at the Board level, we thank Melissanne Scheld who is leaving Dryad this month. Melissanne has served at the Dryad helm during an exciting period of time and, on behalf of the entire Dryad community, we wish Melissanne all the best in her future endeavors. The Board has kicked off the search for a new Executive Director. Please see our job posting for more details. Our new Executive Director will be joining an organization that is in the midst of rapid product development and focused on continuing to build partnerships in the communities we serve. He or she will have the opportunity to work with an outstanding team who demonstrate loyalty and dedication to the Dryad mission and vision, in addition to working closely with our highly professional and driven colleagues at California Digital Library.

Same community, new members

The founding of Dryad was driven by researchers and journal editors who shared a goal of making the sharing of data common practice and a routine part of the scientific publication process. With funding from the US National Science Foundation, and support from journals, scholarly societies, and researchers, the “DRIADE” project (soon to become Dryad) was launched. Originally hosted at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina, the Dryad team is now widely geographically distributed and independent of any host organization. But we remain just as dedicated to serving the needs of the researchers that use Dryad, and the journals, societies and institutions that partner with us, to make research data as widely available as possible. With a 5 person in-house curation team that checks each dataset against FAIR principles, Dryad also prioritizes data quality, to make data not only sharable and discoverable, but also usable, maximizing the impact of every dataset shared via our service. 

To ensure our continued sustainability, we have worked this past year to expand the types of organizations that are members of the Dryad community. In March, we announced our revised institutional member model, which expanded membership from traditional journals and a couple of founding institutions, to the universities and other institutions that generate research data. We are proud to already have Yale University, California State University-East Bay, Montana State University, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology plus, through the CDL partnership, the ten University of California campuses, on board. In addition, we continue to support researchers by integrating our platform into publisher workflows and expanding publisher relationships. Dryad has been lucky to have support from the publishing community over the last decade, and looks forward to launching a revised publisher membership model to continue to build on these successes.

Same Dryad service, new types of data

Since our founding Dryad has focused on publishing datasets associated with published journal articles. This has led us to successfully publish over 29,000 globally accessible datasets, making the data supporting those publications freely available to anyone worldwide. But not all data collected by researchers leads to peer reviewed publications, and many datasets get broken up across publications (to meet journal requirements) and should be published as a cohesive unit. Other datasets may be associated with non-traditional sorts of publications, such as data associated with preprints and software packages, or PhD dissertations and Masters theses. Such datasets need a curated home from which they can be shared and cited as valued research outputs. 

As we announced earlier this week, we have built the capacity to support data deposits that are not associated with the traditional peer-reviewed journal paper in our new platform. We will ensure this new expanded scope of Dryad will include the same curation and access that the Dryad community values, and that associated metadata will allow not only for data discoverability but also ensure that data are understood and can be reused by the community. 

Dryad’s mission is, and always has been, to serve the needs of the scholarly research community. As we reflect on our past, and optimistically look to our future, we see continued growth of our service and remain eager to hear your thoughts. Check out our new platform, follow us on Twitter, and get in touch.

 

New Dryad is Here

The Dryad team has worked over the past year to understand what features are required to best support the research community’s ever-evolving needs. We are proud to announce the launch of our new Dryad platform and we are excited to share with the research community the enhancements that we have made!  

Dryad’s newest features are centered around making data publishing as easy as possible for researchers:

  • In addition to supporting datasets as part of a journal submission, Dryad now also supports datasets being submitted independently
  • Data can be uploaded from cloud storage or lab servers 
  • Datasets can be as large as 300GB
  • Datasets can easily be updated or versioned at any time in our process
  • Standardized data usage and citation statistics are updated and displayed for each published dataset 
  • Data can be submitted and downloaded through our new REST APIs

Since our beginning, Dryad has curated, published, and archived nearly 30,000 datasets underlying scholarly articles. While Dryad began and flourished in the ecology and evolutionary biology communities, it now encompasses the life and biomedical sciences and is gaining larger traction in the broader science and publishing landscapes.  As Dryad expands its disciplinary scope, we are taking into consideration the evolution of data management and publication practices throughout the sciences. 

New features to support current research practices

Because of these changing needs, we believe it is essential to allow for datasets to be submitted and published at any point in the research process. We see the need for datasets to be submitted or published at the point of preprints, micropublications, project completion, null result findings, or in preparation for submitting a manuscript (to name a few). 

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We also understand that data and research are dynamic, so it is important to support versioning and enhanced descriptor fields for these datasets through the research process. As part of the new Dryad, we have increased fields for usage notes, methods, standard vocabularies (i.e., funder), as well as increased file size limits all to enable consistent updating and improvements.

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We believe these changes can allow researchers to make their datasets as usable and understandable (FAIR) as possible, treating each dataset as a citable and valued research output. 

“We aim to build in best practices for research data so researchers don’t have to think about compliance and making their data discoverable.”

-Daniella Lowenberg, Dryad Product Manager

 

The road ahead

Dryad has long been embedded in the scientific communities through support by and for the outputs of funding bodies (i.e., National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, European Commission, private funding agencies, etc) and journal publishers and societies (i.e. The Royal Society, British Ecological Society, American Academy for the Advancement of Science). Going forward, Dryad aims to further build these connections through institutional memberships. We welcome our newest institutional members, and look forward to growing our membership, to support the costs and data publishing needs of their researchers. 

“The features and new capabilities encompassed in our new platform reflect Dryad’s long standing commitment to working with the data sharing community to build a premier data repository service that reflects the evolving needs of researchers, their funders and institutions. I look forward to welcoming new members to this growing global community.”

– Caroline Sutton, Dryad Board Chair

 

The new Dryad platform is just the beginning for our roadmap to make data publishing both robust and seamless. We have already started building integrations with publishing platforms such as Editorial Manager, ScholarOne, and PubSweet that will enable more journals to integrate with Dryad at the point of article submission. 

We will also be working with data analysis and computing spaces like Jupyter, Binder, WholeTale, and rOpenSci to allow for published datasets to be usable within researcher workspaces. To further ensure discoverability of datasets, we are also working with PubMed to allow for Dryad datasets related to articles to be searchable. As we announced earlier this year, we will be building on our partnership with Zenodo that makes software and data publishing a more connected and easy process for both researchers and publishers. 

Get involved

The road ahead is exciting and will take us closer to our goal of supporting researchers and making data publishing easier. We invite you to provide user feedback and potential integration discussions. 

Check out our Github, follow us on Twitter, and get in touch.

 

Funded Partnership Brings Dryad and Zenodo Closer

By Daniella Lowenberg (Cross posted at Zenodo)

With increasing mandates and initiatives around open data and software, researchers commonly have to make a choice about where to deposit their non-article outputs. Unfortunately, systems that are built to accommodate these objects work separately and can make the process more difficult. As a result, data, code, figures, and other outputs go to a variety of disconnected places, or improper homes (i.e. code with the wrong license or data not curated). To tackle this issue, and make open research best practices more seamless for researchers, we are thrilled to announce a partnership between Dryad and Zenodo.

Dryad is a leader in data curation and data publishing. For the last ten years, Dryad has focused primarily on research data, supporting a CC0 license and manually curating each incoming dataset. Zenodo, a general use repository hosted at CERN, has been paving the way in software citation and publishing. As long time players in the open science movement, we believe that we can advance open science and open-source projects further by working together.  Instead of working individually to broaden each our scopes, building competitive features, and inefficiently using our limited resources, Dryad and Zenodo will be working together to support more seamless workflows that make the process easier for researchers. 

To jumpstart this collaboration, we are proud to have been awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant that will enable us to co-develop new solutions focused on supporting researcher and publisher workflows as well as best practices in data and software curation. By focusing on integrations between our systems, leveraging data and software expertise, we can both extend the reach of our services and open up more opportunities for broader research communities.  We are looking forward to re-imagining the submission process for researchers and how we can better support our journal publishing and institutional communities along the way.

Our leadership teams are dedicated to the future of our co-development projects. “Dryad has long admired the work Zenodo does in our shared space and we are thrilled to finally find a way to collaborate on a project that benefits researchers around the globe. The Dryad-Zenodo integration is an excellent example of how two like-minded organizations can join together in a shared vision,” says Melissanne Scheld, Executive Director at Dryad. 

Dryad and Zenodo have always shared the same Open Science values, this is why we are very excited to partner up with such a talented team and bring the future of scientific publication one step closer to reality. We look forward to this inspiring collaboration with Dryad as well as helping the research community to move science forward.” says Jose Benito Gonzalez, Head of Digital Repositories at CERN/Zenodo.

As we embark on this open-source project and partnership together, we invite community feedback and input.  

New additions to the Dryad community

The Dryad community is expanding and diversifying! We’re excited to announce both the addition of a new institutional member and the results of our recent Board of Directors election.

New international institutional member

KAUST (The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) has officially joined Dryad, thus furthering their aspirations to “be a destination for scientific and technological education and research.”KAUST logoWe hope KAUST will be the first of many global research institutions to join under our newly-launched institutional membership model.

To find out more and join yourself, go to datadryad.org/join.

Newly-elected Board members

Dryad Board of Directors elections are held annually, in conjunction with our member meeting. BOD members are elected or re-elected each year by the membership to serve 3-year terms. Our 12-member Board is meant to represent the various stakeholders in the Dryad community — publishers, researchers, technologists, funders, libraries and others.

Two of our current BOD members were eligible to run for a second term, and were re-elected to the Class of 2022. We’re thrilled to have Jennifer Lin and Johan Nilsson continue in their roles.

Meanwhile, please join us in welcoming two brand-new members to the Board:

Catriona MacCallum

Catriona MacCallum

Catriona MacCallum is Director of Open Science at Hindawi Ltd, London, UK. She has almost 20 years experience in scholarly publishing and 15 years in Open Access Publishing. She initially worked as Editor of Trends in Ecology & Evolution for Elsevier before joining the Open-Access publisher PLOS in 2003 to launch PLOS Biology as one of the Senior Editors. She also acted as a Consulting Editor on PLOS ONE, leaving PLOS as Advocacy Director in 2017. She is currently a member of the European Commission’s Open Science Policy Platform and the UKRI Open Access Practitioners Group.  She also serves on the Royal Society Board (Publishing), and is on the newly launched steering committee of DORA. She is a founding individual of I4OC (the Initiative for Open Citations) campaign. She has a PhD (on speciation) from the University of Edinburgh.

Naomi Penfold

Naomi Penfold. Photo credit: Orquidea Real Photobook – Julieta Sarmiento Photography

As Associate Director of ASAPbio, a non-profit organization promoting transparency and innovation in life sciences communication, Naomi Penfold is leading activities to engage the research community to promote the productive use of preprints in biology. She navigates the relationships between publishers, funders, researchers and consumers of science in order to drive innovation in the communication of life sciences research. Naomi is a CEFP2019 fellow with the AAAS’s Community Engagement Fellowship Programme, run by Lou Woodley and colleagues at the Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement. She learns and contributes to open science advocacy and innovation as an OpenCon alumnus, Mozilla Science community contributor and through advisory and organising roles with multiple open science projects (OpenAsInBook club; PREreview) and events (ResearchObject 2018 workshop; Open Access week 2018; OpenCon 2017). Prior to joining ASAPbio, Naomi worked as Innovation Officer (2016-2018) and Events Coordinator (2016) with eLife, and was a Wellcome Trust science policy intern with the Academy of Medical Sciences in the UK. Naomi graduated with a PhD in Clinical Biochemistry from the University of Cambridge in 2017.
Further information: https://asapbio.org/dt_team/naomi-penfold

Catriona and Naomi will assume their duties starting at the next BOD meeting in August.

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Lastly, a note of enormous gratitude to outgoing BOD member Alf Eaton, and also to Charles Fox, a long-serving Dryad Director and our outgoing Chair. We couldn’t have done it without you!

A New Day for Dryad

dryadlogo_treeThere so much is new activity at Dryad! As we prepare to relaunch our platform later this summer, we’ve been hard at work on:

  1. Rolling out a new Institutional Membership plan with enhanced benefits
  2. Planning for an upcoming webinar
  3. Redesigning our logo!

A New Way to Partner with us: Institutional Memberships

Over the past few months you may have heard of or been involved in conversations about Dryad launching a new Institutional Membership – the ‘rumors’ are true and we are pleased to be rolling out this new program to institutions globally! During our first week, California State University – East Bay and Montana State University have officially joined the Dryad community! We are very excited to have these two institutions as members. And they’re excited to join as well:

“Dryad provides Cal State East Bay faculty and students with a tool that will not only preserve their research data but also make it available to the public at large. Because equity and access are core values of our university, we are excited to be one of the early adopters.”

— Jeffra Diane Bussmann, MLIS Associate Librarian

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Our plan is to build a member-owned community of organizations who support data publishing, curation, and preservation on behalf of researchers. We need to band together to make this happen. We know that researchers depend on Dryad; even as more institutions build and promote local data repositories, the number of submissions to Dryad continues to grow year on year. Our goal is to make the Dryad community compatible with the efforts of all institutions, regardless of local data repository infrastructure.

(Our new Institutional Membership is the first step in this direction; towards the end of the year we will be launching a new Publisher Membership with enhanced integrations and customized reporting, but more on that in a few months).

For now, we are rolling out the Institutional Membership program.  We encourage all research institutions to join now as we prepare to re-launch the Dryad platform. The ‘new’ Dryad will offer features for institutional members including campus single sign-on, bespoke reporting, local curation capabilities, and campus co-branding.

Our new model allows for flexibility in how we partner with research organizations.Through our curation, reporting, and integration systems, Dryad can either serve as your primary repository or supplement the services you currently offer.

Forthcoming Webinar

If you’d like to hear more about how your institution can be part of the Dryad community, please join our Institutional Member Webinar on March 27th!

At this webinar Dryad will be joined by our colleagues John Chodacki and Daniella Lowenberg from the California Digital Library (CDL) to discuss the MANY reasons to join the Dryad community as we showcase some of the new functionality and outline the benefits a Membership brings your institution.

Of course, one of the key questions everyone will want to know is – what will this cost? Dryad has crafted a tiered pricing structure based on an institution’s ability to pay. We don’t want any potential member to not be able to join because of the annual fee, so hopefully our plans will work for any potential institution (and if not, I would be happy to discuss directly with you).

Our New Look

As a capstone to these major changes, you may have noticed we have refreshed the Dryad logo! We think this new bright image conveys the spirit of connectivity that Dryad represents across our community. It also retains a thematic connection to our original design. After all, Dryad is still true to our roots (no logo-based pun intended); it is important to us that we never lose sight of Dryad’s core mission to support infrastructure that openly and freely shares and preserves research data for the long term.

If you’d like to JOIN TODAY or receive additional information regarding Dryad, please contact me at director@datadryad.org.

See you at the Institutional Member Webinar on March 27th.

 

Data Curation from Down Under: the 14th International Digital Curation Conference

img_5196.jpgIt was a long journey from Chapel Hill, NC to Melbourne, Australia, but it was definitely worth it to attend the 14th International Digital Curation Conference (IDCC). The IDCC is always a great event for people involved in digital curation and preservation, especially when it is in a beautiful city like Melbourne. I was excited to attend this year and to take part in a 10-minute lightning talk on the Data Curation Network (DCN) entitled “The Data Curation Network: A Curator Perspective”. (More on this later in this post.) I’d like to take this opportunity to share some highlights from the conference.

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This theme of this year’s IDCC, “Collaborations and Partnerships: addressing the big digital challenges together”, fits perfectly with what the Data Curation Network is all about. The Data Curation Network puts into place a cross-institutional staffing model connecting a network of expert data curators to increase local curation capacity, strengthen collaboration and support the sharing of research data. (To read more about the DCN and Dryad’s participation in the network, see Elizabeth Hull’s previous blog post announcing Dryad’s participation in the DCN launch.)

40235616193_c930f23f41_mThe main conference was kicked off with a “Welcome to Country Ceremony” conducted by a Wurundjeri Community Elder, along with a welcome to the University of Melbourne from Gwenda Thomas, Directory Scholarly Services and University Librarian. Kevin Ashley, Director, Digital Curation Centre, also gave a welcome to IDCC19 that included a challenge to conference participants: “listen, talk, interact and be inspired to do something”.

40235541493_9b52a0d5ba_zThe opening keynote, which was presented by independent journalist Christine Kenneally and was entitled “Data, the creation of history and its impact on real lives“, related the compelling story of millions of orphans from around the world (including Australia and the US) searching for information about themselves. The orphans’ story highlighted the importance and direct impact of data on both a societal and an individual level, a theme that would emerge throughout  the conference.

After the keynote, the various presentations in the form of parallel sessions, posters and lightning talks began. Throughout the conference, these presentations were organized into broad topics such as:

  • Grand curation challenges across disciplines
  • Metadata
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  • Data quality
  • Digital humanities
  • Examples and models / Models and tools
  • Research disciplines & data services
  • Research data management / Research data services
  • Digital curation & preservation
  • Building diverse and Inclusive Communities
  • Curating indigenous data
  • Skills

As a representative of the DCN, I took part in a lightning talk session with a presentation put together by Erin Clary (Dryad Senior Curator), Lisa Johnston (Principal Investigator for the DCN and Director of the Data Repository for the University of Minnesota) and myself. The presentation focused on the experiences Erin and I have had so far as curators with the DCN pilot. After Lisa gave a brief overview of the DCN, I described the training and preparation all participating curators undertook and what it was like for Erin and me to actually begin curating DCN submissions.

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John Chodacki (Director, University of California Curation Center) gave a great presentation about the “Community Led Open Data Infrastructure: CDL & Dryad Partnership” in which he shared how and why the partnership came about and what it means going forward. John followed up immediately with another presentation about “The Research Organization Registry“. As an added bonus after the conference, John led the workshop “Accelerating Data Publication: new models for research institutions”. (For a summary of the workshop, see the blog post from the perspective of workshop attendee Dr. Richard Ferrers.)

The thought-provoking final keynote was presented remotely (in light of the recent US Government shutdown) by Dr. Patricia Brennan, Director, US National Library of Medicine. Her presentation, “Jumping into the stream of data curation“, highlighted the enormous amount of data curated each day by the National Library of Medicine. Dr. screen-shot-2019-02-28-at-2.47.44-pm.pngBrennan spoke of an “information tsunami”, the challenges inherent in curating all that data and what those challenges may mean for the future of data curation. Her presentation highlighted the shift in focus by data curation professionals over the years from pushing efforts to encourage data curation to figuring out how we move forward now that those efforts are paying off with a torrent of data given the limited resources available.

The conference came to an end all too soon with closing remarks by Kevin Ashley and Donna McRostie and an IDCC 2019 theme song that put a smile on everyone’s face. Next year, curators will do it all again at the 15th International Digital Curation Conference in (drum roll, please) … Dublin, Ireland!

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Most popular data from 2018

As we begin a new year and celebrate the major milestone of more than 25,000 data packages published, it’s a great time to highlight the value for re-use of the scholarly resources that are openly available and licensed in Dryad. 

So, which data packages published in 2018 have received the most downloads? Here are some at the top of the list.

Whale songs

Stafford et al (2018) Extreme diversity in the songs of Spitsbergen’s bowhead whales 

Here’s a lovely example of “data” that can have uses well beyond research. We’d love to know what people might be doing with these audio files. Meditating to them? Incorporating them into musical compositions?

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All about the data

It’s perhaps not surprising that Dryad data packages associated with Scientific Data get a lot of downloads, as they are a journal specifically for “descriptions of scientifically valuable datasets, and research that advances the sharing and reuse of scientific data.” These three resources are proving especially popular:

  • Bennett et al (2018) GlobTherm, a global database on thermal tolerances for aquatic and terrestrial organisms
  • Faraut et al (2018) Dataset of human medial temporal lobe single neuron activity during declarative memory encoding and recognition 
  • Kummu et al (2018) Gridded global datasets for Gross Domestic Product and Human Development Index over 1990-2015 

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Avian functional traits

Storchová L, Hořák D (2018) Life-history characteristics of European birds

europeanrobinThis is an example of a dataset compiled specifically for re-use. According to the authors, “Recently, functional aspects of avian diversity have been used frequently in comparative analyses as well as in community ecology studies; thus, open access to complete datasets of traits will be valuable.” To make the data as useful as possible, they included a broad spectrum of traits and provided the file in an accessible format: ASCII text, tab delimited, not compressed. Given the large number of downloads, it has indeed proven valuable!

Improving clinical research transparency

Kilicoglu et al (2018) Automatic recognition of self-acknowledged limitations in clinical research literature

Here’s another dataset created for the purpose of improving research — in this case, reporting of limitations in clinical studies. The machine-learning techniques tested here can be incorporated into the workflows of other projects, to support efforts in increasing transparency.

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Huge thanks are due to researchers who take the time and effort to publish their data, to the journals who support them in doing so (including those highlighted above), and to the Dryad member organizations who make it all possible. Here’s to the next 25,000, and the millions of downloads they will produce!