U.S. Policy: Dryad’s role in the NIH’s new Policy for Data Management and Sharing

Building on its longstanding commitment to data sharing, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has introduced an updated Policy for Data Management and Sharing, with the goal of expediting “the translation of research results into knowledge, products, and procedures to improve human health” and enhancing public trust in publicly funded research. As the world’s largest public funder of biomedical research, NIH policies have an outsize impact on research practices.

Following the policy, from January 25, 2023, all projects seeking NIH-funding will be required to submit a data management and sharing plan at the application stage and to follow it over the course of the project lifecycle. The policy sets a clear expectation for researchers “to maximize the appropriate sharing of scientific data.” Let’s unpack a few features of “appropriate” data sharing according to the policy, and take a look at how Dryad helps researchers readily comply with the requirements. 

  1. Use of established repositories. The policy “strongly encourages the use of established repositories,” for data sharing. Data hosted on personal or institutional devices or cloud storage accounts is vulnerable to loss or alteration, and may lack the metadata and contextual material needed for its interpretation and reuse.

    Dryad has over a decade of experience providing high-quality data publishing, curation, and preservation. All data published with Dryad is open by default, preserved in the CoreTrustSeal-certified Merritt repository, and curated by our expert team to ensure it has appropriate metadata and context for discovery and reuse. As an independent and multidisciplinary repository, Dryad welcomes all researchers, regardless of institutional affiliation, research area, or funding source.

  2. Timely publication. The policy asks researchers to make data accessible “as soon as possible, and no later than the time of an associated publication, or the end of performance period” and for the length of time they anticipate it being useful for the larger research community and/or the broader public.

    Dryad’s team of expert curators works to minimize the delay from submission to publication and can work with authors to time data to go live at the same time as an associated publication. All data published with Dryad are retained indefinitely, mirrored in multiple locations, and routinely curated to ensure bit-level integrity over time. 

  3. Data quality assurance. Data sharing is more than a box to check–it’s a practice intended to enable and promote reuse by other researchers. The policy therefore asserts that, to be compliant, “data should be of sufficient quality to validate and replicate research findings.”

    Dryad’s hands-on curation process ensures that data published with us meet this standard. Our team of expert curators reviews each submission with an eye towards metadata quality, usability of files and code, and identification of any sensitive data. Where needed, they correspond with authors to resolve issues and enhance metadata quality. Dryad provides DOIs; permits dataset versioning; and links the dataset with associated research outputs and any software or code needed for replication. Each of these features contributes to a high-quality data publication that is meant to be shared, reused, and built upon.

Dryad’s focus is always on how to make high-quality data publishing as easy as possible for the researcher. By building best practices into our infrastructure and workflows, we ensure that researchers, and the institutions that support them, can trust us to steward their data in compliance with current and future funder policies. 

Dryad is grateful to have had the opportunity to offer feedback into the design of this policy and to be helping other generalist repositories to establish common approaches to support NIH-funded researchers as part of the NIH Generalist Repository Ecosystem Initiative (GREI). Learn more.

Job opening: Full-time data curator (Remote, USA)

Dryad is now recruiting for a Data Curator to help drive and maintain the highest standards for research data curation quality and efficiency. Our future Data Curator will perform data curation tasks, and assist with process improvements, policy implementation, recruitment, and training. 

Qualifications

To thrive, grow and be successful in this role, the candidate should have at least one higher education qualification in biology (preferred) or related research experience and possess the following:

  • Experience working with data in either a research or curation capacity (quantitative and qualitative)
  • Skilled with multiple types of research management and analysis software, both open source and proprietary (such as TextEditor, QGIS, Octave, ImageJ, RStudio)
  • Excellent skills in time-management, organization, collaboration, and communication – verbal and written

Responsibilities

  • Curate and publish research data: evaluate metadata to comply with Dryad’s guidelines for publication, working in collaboration with authors to make data openly available to access and reuse
  • Maintain high standards for curation service delivery, including responsiveness, speed, quality and integrity
  • Maintain relationships with editors, ensuring clear, open and consistent communication about ongoing curation and publication as well as Dryad policies and service
  • Assist with creating and maintaining Dryad documentation
  • Participate in team recruitment and training efforts:
  • Identify opportunities for process optimization and assist with implementation

Important Characteristics

  • Customer service-oriented 
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision
  • Able to work individually and within a team
  • Proactive and committed to continuous improvement
  • Passionate about open science and Dryad’s mission

Helpful but Not Required

  • Familiarity with citation styles and formats, DOIs and other identifiers, indexing services and databases, and citation management software
  • Exposure to metadata standards (XML, etc.)
  • Experience in programming (R/python) and data analysis

Compensation and Benefits

This is a fully remote, full-time hourly position based in the United States. We offer benefits and competitive compensation of $18-23/hour, depending on experience. 

US candidates must be based in any of the following states: 

California, Florida, Indiana, North Carolina, Nebraska, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia,  and Washington.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Dryad is dedicated to providing a welcoming and supportive environment for all people, regardless of background or identity. We are an equal opportunity employer and give consideration for employment to qualified applicants without regard to age, race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, marital status, disability or protected veteran status, or any other status or characteristic protected by US federal, state, or local law. We encourage all qualified individuals to apply.

To Apply

Please submit a resume or CV and cover letter expressing why the Data Curator role at Dryad would be a good fit for you – to jobs@datadryad.org. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered. Informal inquiries are very welcome, to our Head of Publishing Services, Jess Herzog via jherzog@datadryad.org. The position is open now and applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the role is filled. Informal inquiries are very welcome. 

20 September 2022