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Archive for March, 2013

We are pleased to announce that Biology Letters is the latest journal to integrate submission of manuscripts with data to Dryad.  In this process, the journal and repository communicate behind the scenes in order to streamline data submission for authors and ensure that the article contains a permanent link to the data.

It is particularly apt because Biology Letters is published by the Royal Society, which invented the idea of sharing knowledge through a scientific journal back in 1665.  Scientific communication has come a long way from those early letters among gentleman natural philosophers to the current conception of Science as an Open Enterprise conducted in the public interest.  Reflecting these changes in science and technology, the Royal Society recently strengthened its policy on the availability of research data:

To allow others to verify and build on the work published in Royal Society journals it is a condition of publication that authors make available the data and research materials supporting the results in the article.

Datasets should be deposited in an appropriate, recognized repository and the associated accession number, link or DOI to the datasets must be included in the methods section of the article. Reference(s) to datasets should also be included in the reference list of the article with DOIs (where available). Where no discipline-specific data repository exists authors should deposit their datasets in a general repository such as Dryad.

There are already a healthy number of articles in Biology Letters with associated data in Dryad, including one of last year’s hit data packages, Monsters are people too.  The first to be published via integrated submission is:

Article:

Jevanandam N, Goh AGR, Corlett RT (2013) Climate warming and the potential extinction of fig wasps, the obligate pollinators of figs. Biology Letters 9(3): 20130041. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2013.0041

Data:

Goh AGR, Corlett RT, Jevanandam N (2013) Data from: Climate warming and the potential extinction of fig wasps, the obligate pollinators of figs. Dryad Digital Repository. doi:10.5061/dryad.hj7h2

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PubMed and GenBank, from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), are hugely popular resources for searching and retrieving article abstracts and nucleotide sequence data, respectively.  PubMed indexes the vast majority of the biomedical literature, and deposition of nucleotide sequences in GenBank or one of the other INSDC databases is a near universal requirement for publication in a scientific journal.

Thanks to NCBI’s “LinkOut” feature, it is now easy to find associated data in Dryad from either PubMed or GenBank. For example, this Dryad data package is linked from:ncbi._linkout_tjv2

  • the article’s abstract in PubMed. “LinkOut” is at the bottom of the page;  expand “+” to see the links to Dryad and other resources.
  • nucleotide data associated with the same publication in GenBank. “LinkOut” is in the right hand navigation bar

LinkOut allows the data from an article to be distributed among repositories without compromising its discoverability.

At Dryad, we intend to expand on this feature in a couple of ways. First, we plan to make Dryad content searchable via the PubMed and GenBank identifiers, which because of their wide use will provide a convenient gateway for other biomedical databases to link out to Dryad.  Second, we will be using open web standards to expose relationships between content in Dryad and other repositories, not just NCBI.  For example, keen eyes may have noted the relationship of the Dryad data package in the example above to two records in TreeBASE.

To learn more about how Dryad implements NCBI’s LinkOut feature, please see our wiki.

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