The reason why Dryad is in the business of archiving, preserving, and providing access to research data is so that it will be reused, whether for deeper reading of the publication, for post-publication review, for education, or for future research. While it’s not yet as easy as we would like to track data reuse, one metric that is straightforward to collect is the number of times a dataset has been downloaded, and this is one of two data reuse statistics reported by our friends at ImpactStory and Plum Analytics.
The numbers are very encouraging. There are already over a quarter million downloads for the 8,897 data files released in 2014 (from 2,714 data packages). That’s over 28 downloads per data file. While there is always the caveat that some downloads may be due to activity from newly emerged bots that we have yet to recognize and filter out, we think it is safe to say that most of these downloads are from people.
To celebrate, we would like to pay special tribute to the top five data packages from 2014, as measured by the maximum number of downloads for any single file (since many data packages have more than one) at the time of writing. They cover a diversity of topics from livestock farming in the Paleolithic to phylogenetic relationships among insects. That said, we are struck by the impressively strong showing for plant science — 3 of the top 5 data packages.
In 5th place, with 453 downloads
- Giguet-Covex et al. (2014) Long livestock farming history and human landscape shaping revealed by lake sediment DNA. Nature Communications 5: 3211.
In 4th place, with 581 downloads
- Zanne AE et al. (2013) Three keys to the radiation of angiosperms into freezing environments. Nature 506: 89–92.
In 3rd place, with 626 downloads
- Nguyen CV et al. (2014) Tomato GOLDEN2-LIKE transcription factors reveal molecular gradients that function during fruit development and ripening. The Plant Cell 26: 585-601.
In 2nd place, with 4,672 downloads
- Hirsch CN et al. (2014) Insights into the maize pan-genome and pan-transcriptome. The Plant Cell 26: 121-135.
And in 1st place, with a staggering 34,879 downloads
- Misof B et al. (2014) Phylogenomics resolves the timing and pattern of insect evolution. Science 346: 763-767.
Remarkably, given the number of downloads, this last data package was only released in November.
We’d like to thank all of our users, whether you contribute data or reuse it (or both), for helping make science just a little more transparent, efficient, and robust this past year. And we are looking forward to finding out some more of what you did with all those downloads in 2015!