Dryad appoints Jennifer Gibson as Executive Director

Dryad, the open-access repository and curation service for international research data, has announced that Jennifer Gibson (née McLennan) will join as Executive Director this October. An accomplished non-profit executive and open science advocate, Gibson’s leadership will help Dryad navigate a time of ambitious growth and transformation. 

Dryad was established by researchers in 2009 and is now home to over 40,000 datasets across scientific disciplines and across the globe. Academic institutions, publishers and funders partner with Dryad to support broad adoption of best practices in data publishing. 

As Executive Director, Jennifer will manage the remote, multidisciplinary Dryad team, ensure the organization meets its objectives, provide full oversight of operations, and directly report to the Dryad Board of Directors. She will have primary responsibility for leading the continuing development of Dryad and expanding international and strategic partnerships with journals, scientific societies, research institutions, libraries, and funding organizations.

“At a time when submissions and community growth are rapidly increasing and Dryad is launching innovative projects and collaborations, Jennifer’s experience is an excellent match for Dryad,” adds Johan Nilsson, Associate Director of the Oikos Editorial Office in Lund, Sweden, and Chair of the Dryad Board of Directors. “The Board has great confidence that, with her leadership, Dryad stands to chart an even more exciting path into the future of data publishing.” 

Jennifer joins Dryad from eLife, the research funder-backed initiative to transform research communication, where she currently serves as Head of Open Research Communication, in Cambridge UK. As a founding member of the eLife team, Jennifer has worked since late 2011 with researchers, funders, publishers, developers and others to explore fresh paths toward accelerating science through open research practices and open technology innovation. Prior to eLife, she served as Director of Programs and Operations for SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resource Coalition), in Washington, DC. 

“I’m incredibly excited to work with Dryad,” Jennifer says. “As more open research practices take hold across various disciplines, we have a special opportunity to increase the profile of events and objects from across the continuum of research. There is tremendous value in bringing data to the foreground of discovery, to the attention of researchers and to the machines that aid them. Dryad, along with its community of research institutions, publishers, and funders, is well-poised to further realise this potential and I look forward to being a part.”  

Jennifer takes over from Interim Executive Director Patricia Cruse on October 11 and will be based in London, England. 

For Jennifer’s full profile, visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/jmclenna. Her high-resolution image is here: https://bit.ly/37DsZTn 

For more information about Dryad’s recent work, visit our blog at https://blog.datadryad.org

For more information and to request an interview, please contact: director@datadryad.org

COVID Tracking Project Data Now Available in Dryad

Following on the news of The COVID Tracking Project at the Atlantic (CTP)’s collaboration with UCSF and California Digital Library, Dryad is proud to announce our partnership with CTP to provide an accessible, citable, and long-term home for the data that has guided policy and expanded the capacity of the medical and scientific community to respond to COVID-19. Over the course of the pandemic, CTP tracked and made available national testing data for more than two months, when these counts were otherwise not available, and other factors necessary to guide the medical community to better understand the epidemiology and public health impacts of COVID-19. CTP was the main organization to have compiled data from all the U.S. states, as opposed to using federal or county data. These unique data— reported from every state March 7th, 2020 to March 7th, 2021— are now available in Dryad

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), a philanthropy that is leveraging technology, community-driven solutions, and collaboration to build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future, was an early supporter of the CTP.

“In a time of unprecedented uncertainty, the volunteers at the COVID Tracking Project provided consistent, timely, and meaningful data on the direction of the pandemic. CZI was proud to support their comprehensive COVID-19 racial data tracker, and ultimately, their efforts to derive lessons that will help navigate future public health crises,” said Kishore Hari, Community Engagement Strategist at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. “We are thrilled to see this project archived at Dryad, UCSF, and California Digital Library, allowing researchers across the world to continue exploring the data and organizational records amassed by this incredible team.”

As the world continues to recognize the importance of data-driven and evidence-based research and policy, it’s become increasingly clear that broad access to data is essential to the advancement of research and clinical practice. Access includes having robust metadata to understand and reuse the data, in accessible file formats, and with the assurance of long-term preservation. 

CZI is a member of the Dryad community, covering the costs of curation and preservation for their grantees and supporting them in following best practices for open data. 

“Open infrastructures for scholarly outputs is a critical component of an open, reproducible, and verifiable scientific ecosystem, and CZI is proud to support our grantees like The COVID Tracking Project with a place to store, preserve, discover, and link research datasets,” said Carly Strasser, Open Science Program Manager at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

Acknowledging shared values as community-driven organizations, CTS and Dryad found great similarities in approaches to making data openly available and reusable. By hosting these data, Dryad enables users around the world to analyze, cite, and build on these COVID counts that otherwise would not have been available during the first year of the pandemic. 

The COVID Tracking Project at the Atlantic’s Amanda French said, “We’re publishing COVID Tracking Project data in Dryad for two main reasons: to provide an authoritative citable version of the data we compiled from U.S. states in the first year of the pandemic and to make sure that the data will be available long after our website and GitHub organization have gone away. There are many copies of CTP’s data all around the internet in different versions (some of which probably have different values from each other), so now that our crisis response organization has largely disbanded, it’s important to us to know that a thoroughly vetted version of the critically important U.S. state COVID data that hundreds of concerned citizens helped to compile has a permanent home where researchers in all kinds of fields can find and use it”.

As CTP continues to wind down and further datasets are curated, they will continue to become available in Dryad.