The Dryad Collaboration: An invitation to libraries

Jen Gibson, Executive Director 

At the Winter meeting of the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) in December, I had the chance to present for the first time (for me) Dryad’s invitation to collaborate for academic and research libraries. It was three years ago, at this same meeting, where library colleagues met to discuss Dryad’s prospective role and how we might supplement ongoing initiatives for open research and repository systems on campus. 

I’ll revisit the highlights of my presentation here, with an open invitation to academic and research libraries and their networks to please get in touch to discuss further. Please don’t hesitate to contact me via jgibson[at]datadryad.org. 

CNI has shared a video of the presentation, here. I am introduced by John Chodacki, Director of UC3 at the California Digital Library, who speaks to their motivations for investing in Dryad.

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At the time of writing, our institutional membership program has connected Dryad with forty three academic institutions. It’s a program for institutions designed by institutions, having been developed at a workshop of academic and research library representatives in 2019. Institutional member dues represent 25% of Dryad’s non-grant revenue at the moment. 

Our members are listed here. Given the chance to read it, I hope readers would notice that small and large institutions are represented, and that we have some geographical reach – although we want to have much more. 

The proposal

We’ve designed the fees to be cost-effective ($3,000 for teaching institutions and $13,000 for the largest research institutions), and it’s not always the library that pays. The Dryad collaboration is a compelling proposition for information technology services and research administration, as well.

In recognition of their investment, Dryad members receive a breadth of benefits, from unlimited data publishing deposits (for submissions affiliated with your institution) and an activity dashboard to prominent branding and technical support. Dryad members have the power to vote in our annual election of governing board members – helping to preserve Dryad as a community-owned resource with community interests in mind. And, many use our API to integrate Dryad data and metadata with local resources – whether mirroring all our research data in their local institutional repository, or adding just the metadata to their catalogue, for example. 

Our member benefits are set out on our website, here

The incentive 

Before revisiting why institutions have invested in the Dryad collaboration, allow me to emphasise that we’re a data publishing platform and community committed to the open sharing and re-use of all research data. We’re part of a network of interconnected systems and initiatives that advance open research using modern technology, and sit alongside domain repositories, institutional repositories, other generalist repositories, and other services, such as the Data Curation Network.

Our vision is for all research data to be openly available and routinely re-used, and we help by enabling and promoting the re-use of research data through the Dryad platform and our integrations. We make it easy and powerful to share, and compelling to reuse research data.

Institutions are investing in Dryad because: 

  1. We’re a powerful ally in achieving your open research strategy
  2. Many research communities already come to Dryad to share their data
  3. Our integrations with publishers help capture data at the right moment, as part of a focal workflow
  4. We help advocate for – and exemplify – best practises in data sharing and the potential for data re-use
  5. We share your values. As a non-profit organisation, we’re driven by our mission and vision, and want to contribute to a global environment for research that is equitable and inclusive as well as open. 

All that said, one of the key questions for our institutional partners is how we supplement institutional and other campus repositories, which have already drawn significant investment. So, a couple of points to help: 

  • The first is that Dryad publishes data exclusively, while IRs and other generalist repositories publish a wide range of content.
  • The second is, as above, that members can mirror our metadata and/or data in other repositories (including Dataverse, for example) or catalogues. 

Dryad’s aim is to connect and support, to be an important part of our members’ puzzle, rather than a one-stop shop. 

The potential

As a new Executive Director, I see a lot of potential here, and know that Dryad has gained some traction with the program in the last couple of years, but I wonder what our readers think. 

In closing, I’d like to offer a few thoughts on the future shape of our collaboration, given my past experience working with academic institutions on open research programs. 

  1. First, given my work at SPARC and on projects like Open Access Week, I can’t help but ask if we shouldn’t collaborate around open data advocacy and education? Can Dryad be a ‘depository’ or locus for organised outreach? How do we leverage the momentum, and help connect information and resources with those who need them?
  2. Second, having worked so closely with researchers over the last ten years, working to convince them to change their publishing behaviours and how they judge their fellows, I can’t help but wonder what power there may be in – finally – altering research assessment, if we’re able to get people to interact with and use the data. If we can bring it to life for them, make the data compelling to reuse, and create a feedback loop for researchers who do share, could we move researchers to begin crediting data sharing themselves?? 
  3. And, finally, there is great interest in helping community-driven and open-source initiatives to persist and thrive in a competitive marketplace. I’m certainly interested, and have a number of plans for Dryad. I wonder how my plans sit with yours, and how we work together to achieve this.

I’ll look forward to working with all our current and prospective members in refining our offering and collaborating to advance open research.

Again, your thoughts are very welcome, to jgibson[at]datadryad.org.

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