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.
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.