Funded Partnership Brings Dryad and Zenodo Closer

By Daniella Lowenberg (Cross posted at Zenodo)

With increasing mandates and initiatives around open data and software, researchers commonly have to make a choice about where to deposit their non-article outputs. Unfortunately, systems that are built to accommodate these objects work separately and can make the process more difficult. As a result, data, code, figures, and other outputs go to a variety of disconnected places, or improper homes (i.e. code with the wrong license or data not curated). To tackle this issue, and make open research best practices more seamless for researchers, we are thrilled to announce a partnership between Dryad and Zenodo.

Dryad is a leader in data curation and data publishing. For the last ten years, Dryad has focused primarily on research data, supporting a CC0 license and manually curating each incoming dataset. Zenodo, a general use repository hosted at CERN, has been paving the way in software citation and publishing. As long time players in the open science movement, we believe that we can advance open science and open-source projects further by working together.  Instead of working individually to broaden each our scopes, building competitive features, and inefficiently using our limited resources, Dryad and Zenodo will be working together to support more seamless workflows that make the process easier for researchers. 

To jumpstart this collaboration, we are proud to have been awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant that will enable us to co-develop new solutions focused on supporting researcher and publisher workflows as well as best practices in data and software curation. By focusing on integrations between our systems, leveraging data and software expertise, we can both extend the reach of our services and open up more opportunities for broader research communities.  We are looking forward to re-imagining the submission process for researchers and how we can better support our journal publishing and institutional communities along the way.

Our leadership teams are dedicated to the future of our co-development projects. “Dryad has long admired the work Zenodo does in our shared space and we are thrilled to finally find a way to collaborate on a project that benefits researchers around the globe. The Dryad-Zenodo integration is an excellent example of how two like-minded organizations can join together in a shared vision,” says Melissanne Scheld, Executive Director at Dryad. 

Dryad and Zenodo have always shared the same Open Science values, this is why we are very excited to partner up with such a talented team and bring the future of scientific publication one step closer to reality. We look forward to this inspiring collaboration with Dryad as well as helping the research community to move science forward.” says Jose Benito Gonzalez, Head of Digital Repositories at CERN/Zenodo.

As we embark on this open-source project and partnership together, we invite community feedback and input.  

A New Day for Dryad

dryadlogo_treeThere so much is new activity at Dryad! As we prepare to relaunch our platform later this summer, we’ve been hard at work on:

  1. Rolling out a new Institutional Membership plan with enhanced benefits
  2. Planning for an upcoming webinar
  3. Redesigning our logo!

A New Way to Partner with us: Institutional Memberships

Over the past few months you may have heard of or been involved in conversations about Dryad launching a new Institutional Membership – the ‘rumors’ are true and we are pleased to be rolling out this new program to institutions globally! During our first week, California State University – East Bay and Montana State University have officially joined the Dryad community! We are very excited to have these two institutions as members. And they’re excited to join as well:

“Dryad provides Cal State East Bay faculty and students with a tool that will not only preserve their research data but also make it available to the public at large. Because equity and access are core values of our university, we are excited to be one of the early adopters.”

— Jeffra Diane Bussmann, MLIS Associate Librarian

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Our plan is to build a member-owned community of organizations who support data publishing, curation, and preservation on behalf of researchers. We need to band together to make this happen. We know that researchers depend on Dryad; even as more institutions build and promote local data repositories, the number of submissions to Dryad continues to grow year on year. Our goal is to make the Dryad community compatible with the efforts of all institutions, regardless of local data repository infrastructure.

(Our new Institutional Membership is the first step in this direction; towards the end of the year we will be launching a new Publisher Membership with enhanced integrations and customized reporting, but more on that in a few months).

For now, we are rolling out the Institutional Membership program.  We encourage all research institutions to join now as we prepare to re-launch the Dryad platform. The ‘new’ Dryad will offer features for institutional members including campus single sign-on, bespoke reporting, local curation capabilities, and campus co-branding.

Our new model allows for flexibility in how we partner with research organizations.Through our curation, reporting, and integration systems, Dryad can either serve as your primary repository or supplement the services you currently offer.

Forthcoming Webinar

If you’d like to hear more about how your institution can be part of the Dryad community, please join our Institutional Member Webinar on March 27th!

At this webinar Dryad will be joined by our colleagues John Chodacki and Daniella Lowenberg from the California Digital Library (CDL) to discuss the MANY reasons to join the Dryad community as we showcase some of the new functionality and outline the benefits a Membership brings your institution.

Of course, one of the key questions everyone will want to know is – what will this cost? Dryad has crafted a tiered pricing structure based on an institution’s ability to pay. We don’t want any potential member to not be able to join because of the annual fee, so hopefully our plans will work for any potential institution (and if not, I would be happy to discuss directly with you).

Our New Look

As a capstone to these major changes, you may have noticed we have refreshed the Dryad logo! We think this new bright image conveys the spirit of connectivity that Dryad represents across our community. It also retains a thematic connection to our original design. After all, Dryad is still true to our roots (no logo-based pun intended); it is important to us that we never lose sight of Dryad’s core mission to support infrastructure that openly and freely shares and preserves research data for the long term.

If you’d like to JOIN TODAY or receive additional information regarding Dryad, please contact me at director@datadryad.org.

See you at the Institutional Member Webinar on March 27th.

 

Five-ish Minutes With: Charles Fox

In our latest post, our Executive Director Melissanne Scheld sits down with Dryad’s Board of Directors Chair, Professor Charles Fox, to discuss challenges researchers face today, how Dryad is helping alleviate some of those pain points, why Dryad has had such staying power in a quickly changing industry,  . . . and then we move on to dessert. 

Chuck Fox

Can you tell us a little about your professional background and how that intersects with Dryad’s mission?

I wear two hats in my professional life – I am an evolutionary ecologist who studies various aspects of insect biology at the University of Kentucky, and I am a journal editor (Executive Editor of Functional Ecology).

My involvement with open data and Dryad began fortuitously in 2006. The British Ecological Society was invited to send a representative to a Data Registry Workshop, organized by the Ecological Society of America, to be held that December in Santa Barbara, California. I am (and was at that time) an editor of one of the British Ecological Society’s journals, Functional Ecology, and I live in the U.S. So Lindsay Haddon, who was Publications Manager for the BES, asked me to attend the workshop  as their representative. Before that meeting I don’t recall having thought much about open data or data archives, but I was excited to attend the meeting in part because the topic intrigued me and, selfishly, because my parents live in southern California and this was an opportunity to visit them. The discussions at that meeting, plus those at a couple follow-up meetings over the next couple years, including one at NESCent in Durham, North Carolina, and another in Vancouver, convinced me that data publishing, and open data more generally, should be a part of research publication. So I began lobbying the BES to adopt an open data policy and become a founding member of Dryad. I wrote a proposed data policy – just a revision of the Journal Sata Archiving Policy, JDAP, that many ecology and evolution journals adopted – and submitted that proposal to the BES’ publication committee. It took a few years, but in 2011 the BES adopted that data policy across their suite of journals and became a member of Dryad. The BES has since been a strong supporter of open data and required data publication as a condition of publishing a manuscript in one of their journals. Probably because I was a vocal proponent of data policies at BES meetings (along with a few others, most notably Tim Coulson), I was nominated to be a Dryad board member, and was elected to the board in 2013.

As an educator,  what are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen in the classroom during your career?

When I started teaching, first as a graduate student (teaching assistant) and then as a young university professor, we didn’t have Powerpoint and digital projectors. So I made heavy use of a chalkboard (or dry erase board) during lecture, and used an overhead projector for more complicated graphics. Students had to take detailed notes on the lecture, which required them to write furiously all throughout the class. Nowadays I produce detailed PowerPoint slides that include most of the material I cover, so I write very little on the chalkboard. And, because I can provide my slides to students before class – as a pdf that they can print and bring to class – the students are freed from scribbling furiously to capture every detail. Students still need to take some notes (my slides do not include every detail), but they are largely freed to listen to lecture and participate in class discussions. I am not convinced, though, that these changes have led to improved learning, at least not in all students. Having information too easily available, including downloadable class materials, seems to cause some students to actually disengage from class, and ultimately do poorly, possibly because they think they don’t need to attend class, or engage when they do attend, since they have all of the materials easily accessible to them outside the classroom?

What do you think the biggest challenges are for open science research today?

I have been amazed at how quickly open data has become accepted as the standard in the ecology and evolution research communities. When data policies were first proposed to journals there was substantial resistance to their adoption – journals were nervous about possibly driving away authors, and editors (who are also researchers) shared the views that were common in the community regarding ownership of their own data – but over just a few years the resistance largely disappeared among editors, societies and publishers, such that a large proportion of the top journals in the field have adopted policies requiring data to be published alongside research manuscripts. That said, some significant challenges remain, both on the researcher side and on the repository side. On the repository side, sustainable funding remains the largest hurdle. Data repositories cost money to run, such as for staff and infrastructure. Dryad has been relying on a mix of data publication charges (DPCs) and grants to fund its mission. This has worked for us so far, but constantly chasing grants is a lot of work for those writing grants, and the cost to researchers paying DPCs, albeit small, is not trivial for those without grant support.

On the researcher side, though data publishing has mostly become an accepted part of research publication in the community, there remain many important cultural and practical challenges to making open data universally practiced.  These include the development of standards for data citation and reuse (not restrictions on data reuse, but community expectations for citation and collaboration), balancing views of data ownership with the needs of the community, balancing the concerns of researchers that produce long-term datasets with those of the community, and others. We also need to improve education about data, such as teaching our students how to organize and properly annotate their datasets so that they are useful for other researchers after publication. Even when data are made available by researchers, actually using those data can be challenging if they are not well organized and annotated.

When researchers are deciding in which repository to deposit their research data, what values and functions should they consider?

Researchers should choose a repository that best fits the type of data they have to deposit and the community that will likely be reusing it. There are many repositories that handle specialized data types, such as genetic sequence data or data to be used for phylogenetic analysis. If your data suits a specialized archive, choose that. But the overwhelming majority of data generated by ecologists don’t fit into specialized archives. It’s for these types of data that Dryad was developed.

So what does Dryad offer researchers? From the perspective of the dataset author, Dryad links your dataset directly to the manuscript you have published about the dataset. This provides users detailed metadata on the contents of your dataset, helping them understand the dataset and use it correctly for future research. Dryad also ensures that your dataset is discoverable, whether you start at the journal page, on Dryad’s site, or any of a large number of collaborator services. The value of Dryad to the dataset user are similar – easy discoverability of data and clear links to the data collection details (i.e., links to the associated manuscripts).  

You’ve held several roles on Dryad’s Board of Directors – what about this organization compels you to volunteer your free time?

My experiences as a scientist, a journal editor, and participating in open data discussions have convinced me that data publication is an essential part of research publication. For decades, or even centuries, we’ve relied on a publishing model where researchers write manuscripts that describe the work they have done and summarize their results and conclusions for the broader community. That’s the typical journal paper, and was the limit of what could be done in an age where everything had to fit onto the printed page and be distributed on paper. Nowadays we have near infinite space in a digital medium to not just summarize our results, but also provide all of the details, including the actual data, as part of the research presentation. It will always be important to have an author summarize their findings and place their work into context – that intellectual contribution is an essential part of communicating your research – but there’s no reason that’s where we need to stop. I imagine a world where a reader can click on a figure, or table, or other part of a manuscript and be taken directly to the relevant details – the actual data presented in the figure, the statistical models underlying the analyses, more detailed descriptions of study sites or organisms, and possibly many other types of information about the experiment, data collection, equipment used, results, etc. We shouldn’t be constrained by historical limitations of the printed page. We’re not yet even close to where I think we can and should be  going, but making data an integral part of research publication is a huge step in the right direction. So I enthusiastically support journal mandates that require data to be published alongside each manuscript presenting research results. And facilitating this is a core part of Dryad’s mission, which leads me to enthusiastically support both Dryad’s mission and the organization itself!

Pumpkin or apple pie?  

Those are my two favorite pies, so it’s a tough question. If served a la mode, i.e., with ice cream, then I’d most often pick apple pie. But, without ice cream, I’d have to choose pumpkin pie.

Stay tuned for future conversations with industry thought leaders and other relevant blog posts here at Dryad News and Views.

 

The way forward at Dryad

Crossroads

Melissanne Scheld, Executive Director, takes time to reflect on the Dryad/CDL partnership and to share thoughts on the direction of this collaborative effort.

It’s been a fast two months since I joined Dryad at this pivotal and exciting juncture. As previously announced, this spring Dryad entered into a formal partnership with California Digital Library (CDL) to ensure long-term sustainability for Dryad and to reinforce two essential,  shared goals:

  1. Create sustainability for open-source, community-owned, data curation & publication infrastructure
  2. Drive adoption of curated data publishing in the research community.

Where we are

For the past decade, Dryad has served as a highly regarded, non-profit, curated repository for data research across disciplines. None of that is changing!

Going forward we need to better meet researchers within their own workflows. We need to make the action of submitting research data even easier so that it becomes a seamless step within the publishing process.

We are currently working to migrate the Dryad system onto CDL’s Dash platform. Using an Agile framework, developers from both Dryad and CDL are collaborating to build an open-source, nimble service that will offer a higher level of administrative functionality, an improved curation layer, and various submission options.

Where we’re going

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Researchers will find our new offering continues to meet funder requirements and sets the bar in best practices for data sharing. Using the FAIR data principles as a guide, the curation we perform on each dataset deposited eases findability and usability, while the new levels of enhanced integrations we plan to develop (more on this below) will further improve submitters’ workflows.

For institutions, we want to offer an infrastructure that supports local research data management through features including campus single sign-on, bespoke reporting, integration with local repositories, and campus co-branding. The global network of libraries, which CDL is part of, will help us reach a wider range institutions that are also looking for data management solutions.

Dryad has always had strong publisher support; our new offering will improve these partnerships through enhanced API integrations. Going forward we will build upon our publishing partners while also working with platform providers to develop direct integrations. This will provide a more automated submission process around the transmission of metadata and DOIs.

We want to build modular infrastructure that is future-proof. We should be thinking about data publishing both as its own entity and in conjunction with article publishing. There are many avenues for circulating research and data publishing should be a part of all of these. Publishing data should be as ‘easy’ and ‘standardized‘ as article publishing.

Along with more robust infrastructure, we need to rethink how we build Dryad’s sustainability.  As a small, lean, non-profit, we need to build financial models that don’t overburden any single segment of our community, but still allow us to support the high level of curation and preservation infrastructure for which Dryad is known.

We are currently market testing new models within our community and have been talking with institutions and publishers to hear how we can best support their data publishing needs and what shared costs might look like. We know that there has been a lot of talk lately in our wider community about membership models; early feedback from our partners indicates this is still the most favorable method for investing in long-term sustainability.

What will success look like for us?  

successThe Dryad/CDL partnership aims to create a self-sustaining, curated, digital data repository for researchers across all fields of inquiry, based on the needs of and supported by institutional and publisher community members. We are building from a strong foundation, have created a thoughtful roadmap through community feedback, and are confident we are on a pathway to sustainability.

Personally, I’m very excited about all of these changes and know that, in partnership with CDL, we will be able to better serve our community. I look forward to updating you on future developments, but in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at director@datadryad.org with any questions or comments.