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Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

As a non-profit repository dependent on support from members and users, Dryad is greatly concerned with the economics and sustainability of data services. Our business model is built around Data Publishing Charges (DPCs), designed to recover the basic costs of curating and preserving data. Dryad DPCs can be covered in 3 ways:

  1. The DPC is waived if the submitter is based in a country classified by the World Bank as a low-income or lower-middle-income economy.
  2. For many journals, the society or publisher will sponsor the DPC on behalf of their authors (to see whether this applies, look up your journal).
  3. In the absence of a waiver or a sponsor, the DPC is US$120, payable by the submitter.

Our long-term aim is to increase sponsorships and reduce the financial responsibility of individual researchers.

Last year, we launched a pilot study sponsored by the US National Science Foundation to test the feasibility of having a funding agency directly sponsor the DPC. We conducted a survey of Dryad submitters as part of the pilot, hoping to learn more about how researchers plan and pay for data archiving.

Initial survey results

We first want to say a hearty THANK YOU to our participants for giving us so much good information to work with! (10 participants were randomly selected to receive gift cards as a sign of our appreciation). Respondents were located around the world, with nearly all based at academic institutions.

Survey respondents' positions

A word about selection of survey participants. We know that approximately 1/3 of all Dryad data publications do not have a sponsor or waiver, meaning the researcher is responsible for covering the $120 charge. We wanted to learn more about payment methods and funding sources for these non-sponsored DPCs.

We specifically solicited researchers for our survey who had 1) submitted to Dryad in the previous year and 2) paid their Data Publishing Charge directly (via credit card or voucher code). The survey questions focused on a few topics:

  • Grant funding and Data Management Plans
  • Where the money for their Data Publishing Charges ultimately came from, and
  • Whether funding concerns affect their data archiving behavior.

A few highlights are presented below; we intend to dig deeper into the survey results (and other information gathered as part of the pilot study) and report on them publicly in the coming months.

Planning for data in grant proposals

Nearly 72% of respondents indicated that the research associated with their publication/data was supported by a grant. We wanted to know how (or whether) researchers planned ahead for archiving their data in their grant proposals, and the results were enlightening:

  • 43% did not include a Data Management Plan (DMP) as part of their proposal for funding.
  • Of those who did submit a DMP, only about 46% committed to archiving their data as part of that plan.
  • A whopping 96% said they did not specifically budget for data archiving in their proposal.
  • Only 41% were able to archive their data within the grant funding period, while 59% were unable to, or were unsure.

As these results indicate, data management/stewardship is still not a high priority at the grant proposal stage. Even when researchers plan for data deposition, they don’t consider the costs associated. And even if they do (hypothetically) have funding specifically for data, the timing may not allow them to use it before the grant expires.

These factors suggest that if funding agencies want to prioritize supporting data stewardship, they should make funds available for this purpose outside the traditional grant structure.

Show me the money

When submitters pay the Dryad Data Publishing Charge themselves, where does that money come from? Are submitters being reimbursed? If so, how/by whom?

Our results showed that, unfortunately, about a quarter of our participants paid their DPCs out-of-pocket and did not receive any reimbursement. Approximately the same number paid themselves but were reimbursed (by their institution, a grant, or some combination of these), and 37% of DPCs were paid directly by the institution (using an institutional credit card or voucher code).

How was the Dryad DPC paid?

 

Some respondents view self-funding of data publication as worthwhile:

My belief is that scientific data should be publicly available and I am willing to cover the costs myself if supervisors (grant holders) do not.

As long as the cost is reasonable, in the worse case scenario I pay from my pocket. Better the data are safe and easily accessible for years to come than stored in spurious formats and difficult-to-access servers.

But for many others, covering the payment can be a real pain point:

I paid the processing charge myself mainly because our University’s reimbursement process was so laborious, I felt it easier just to get it over and done with myself and absorb the relatively small cost personally.

I just have to beg and plead for funding support each time.

If I am publishing after the postdoc ends then I am no longer paid to work on the project. Since I have had four postdocs, each lasting less than two years, this has happened for all my publications.

Examples from the “other” payment category shown above illustrate the scrappiness of researchers in finding funding:

I paid this from flexible research funds that were recently awarded by my institution. Had that not occurred, I would have had to pay personally and not be reimbursed.

I used my RTF (research trust fund) since I didn’t have dedicated grant funding.

Scavenged money from other projects.

Key takeaways

Our preliminary results show that at a time of more and stronger open data policies, paying for data publication remains far from straightforward, with much of the burden passed along to individual researchers.

Concerns about funding for open data can have real impacts on research availability and publication choice. More than 15% of our participants indicated that they have collected data in the last few years that they have been unable to archive due to lack of funds. Meanwhile, over 40% say that when choosing which journal(s) to submit to, sponsorship of the Dryad DPC does, or at least may, influence their decision.

The good news it that during our 8-month pilot implementation period, the US National Science foundation sponsored nearly 200 Data Publishing Charges for which researchers would otherwise have been responsible.

We at Dryad are committed to finding and implementing solutions, and very much appreciate the feedback and support we receive from the research and publishing community. Stay tuned for more lessons learned.

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Change_In_Hand

We are pleased to have received a Sustaining Award from the U.S. National Science Foundation.  Sustaining Awards are an innovative proposal track, developed within NSF’s Advances in Bioinformatics program, that provides “limited support for the cost of ongoing operations and maintenance of existing cyberinfrastructure that is critical for the continued advance of priority biological research.”

The award  is to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Dryad as a subawardee. The grant provides approximately $762K in funding over three years (starting 1-Sep-2016).

From the abstract:

This award will enable Dryad to achieve the scale required for sustainability through continued growth and extension to new research communities. At the same time, it will enable the continued growth of the repository’s valuable collection of diverse and high-quality data for research and education.

The full project description is publicly available and more information about the award is at the NSF Funding Database.

We are grateful to NSF, who have generously supported the Dryad Digital Repository since its inception in 2008, including a recently funded small-scale pilot study to explore direct sponsorship of data publication charges.

 

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whopays

The question of who should pay for the preservation and stewardship of open research data remains unresolved, at a time when journals and funders alike are adopting strong open data policies. As a non-profit repository that relies on financial support from members and users, we at Dryad deal with this question daily, and are eager to help find new and sustainable solutions.

Along these lines, if you submit your data to Dryad, you will soon notice that we will ask for information about your grant support. That’s because we’re running a pilot project with the US National Science Foundation (NSF) to test the feasibility of having a funding organization directly sponsor Data Publication Charges (DPCs).

During this pilot implementation, if your research was supported by a grant from the US NSF, and your DPC would not otherwise be waived or sponsored by another organization, this grant information can be used to charge the DPC directly to a fund set aside as part of this project.

nsf_flowchart

Entering grant information at data submission is optional. Nonetheless, we encourage researchers to fill out the funding information in order to benefit from NSF funds, enable awardees to receive credit from their institutions and funders for the open availability and reuse of the data, and to promote its discoverability.

Direct funder sponsorship of data archiving has some significant features:

Researchers also stand to benefit — they have an interest in seeing their data responsibly curated and preserved, even if they publish and archive data after their grant funds have expired.  And we are excited by the prospect of increasing the proportion of data packages for which the DPC is sponsored or waived (which is currently just over 2/3).

We aim to work out the details of achieving the goals above, and to evaluate any downsides, as part of the pilot. We will also be surveying researchers to better understand what happens when data is not sponsored by a payment plan. From that, we will be able to develop recommendations for what Dryad, funding organizations, and institutions can do to facilitate the DPC payment process for researchers.

We are grateful to the NSF Advances in Bioinformatics program for the supplemental funding behind this project, and we hope that many researchers will take advantage of the opportunity to have their DPC covered by the NSF funds, which will be available at least through February 2017.  Please let me know (at director@datadryad.org) if you have any questions or feedback!

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watering-can-simpler-2

Over the last few years, we’ve learned a lot about what is needed to curate, preserve, and provide access to data for the long term, as well as to sustain an independent not-for-profit organization. We’ve also paid close attention to the needs and wants of our user community and members. To meet these needs, we are revising our pricing structure for the first time since it was introduced in 2013.

  • Submissions initiated after 4 January 2016 will have a base Data Publication Charge (DPC) of $120US.
  • Pricing is now the same for all journals – there will no longer be an additional surcharge for non-integrated publications.
  • We encourage individuals and small groups to purchase bundles of DPC vouchers in advance and in any quantity. Purchases over 25 DPCs will enjoy a discount.
  • As a further user benefit, we will be doubling the maximum package size before overage fees kick in (to 20GB) and simplifying and reducing the overage fees.
  • We will continue to waive DPCs for researchers from World Bank low-income and low-middle-income economies upon request.
  • Membership fees are not changing, but Dryad members will be entitled to receive larger discounts on DPCs.
  • As always, there are no fees to download or reuse data from Dryad.
  • Integrating Dryad’s system with partner journals remains a free service.

Dryad’s Board of Directors will continue to keep a close eye on the repository’s sustainability progress. We anticipate this price structure will remain stable for the foreseeable future and are always seeking opportunities for savings and efficiencies.

We are grateful to our community supporters and take seriously the responsibility to ensure the long-term availability of the research data entrusted to us.

Prepaid data submission vouchers can be purchased at current pricing levels ($80 apiece) through January 4th (and at the new price of $120 apiece after that), by contacting help@datadryad.org.

Payment plans are either subscription or usage-based. Organizations and individuals may also make advance purchases of any number of DPCs and are eligible for bulk discounts for purchases of 25 or more.

What exactly do your DPCs cover?

The following breakdown of expenses reflects projected costs in the near future, extrapolating from historic growth rates. Approximately half of costs are associated with Repository Management, including membership-based nonprofit governance, communications with Dryad’s many stakeholders, members and partners, and upkeep of software systems (Repository Maintenance). Another quarter of the costs are due to the curation and user support provided to each data package, part of Dryad’s unique service offering and commitment to quality.

Since Dryad is a virtual organization, Infrastructure & Facilities largely covers server costs, digital storage, and interoperability technologies such as Digital Object identifiers (DOIs). A small fraction goes to community outreach activities to help encourage data publication best practices and raise awareness of Dryad. Administrative Support covers essential functions such as accounting and contract review.

Finally, Research and Development is essential for building new features to support changing technology and user expectations. R&D expenses are included here, but would ordinarily be covered through special project grants and not considered an operating expense paid for through DPCs.

We expect that as efficiencies are put into place, volume increases, and further economies of scale are realized, the percentage of the DPC supporting Repository Management will decrease and other areas, most notably Curation, will increase.

expense_breakdown-01

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We are pleased to announce that The Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) now sponsors Data Publication Charges (DPCs) through Dryad’s voucher plan, which enables an organization to prepay DPCs at a discounted rate on behalf of its researchers.

nioo_logo_212wThe Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) is a unique ‘all ecologist institute’ covering animal, plant, and microbial ecology on land and in water. NIOO has about 220 employees, students and guests, making it one of the largest research institutes of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). Its core task is to perform basic and strategic ecological research on individual organisms, populations, ecological communities and ecosystems.

Mallard_female_and_chicks

A recent paper by NIOO researchers analyzes the transfer of maternal antibodies against avian influenza virus in mallards (van Dijk JGB et al., 2014, PLoS ONE http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0112595; Data: http://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.43v0t). Image: Ingrid Taylar, CC-BY 2.0, https://www.flickr.com/photos/taylar/14129117924

By becoming an institutional sponsor with Dryad, the Institute can be confident that the valuable datasets produced by its researchers are securely preserved, discoverable, citable, and prominently linked with their publications. The researchers also benefit from an easy, cost-free submission process and the added curation that Dryad provides to all its content.

Dryad provides a home for nearly any type of data associated with a peer-reviewed article, book or book chapter, dissertation, thesis or other vetted publication. Dryad’s voucher plan provides institutions with an easy way to support the data management needs of their researchers without requiring additional infrastructure or an exclusive arrangement. If you would like to learn more about how your organization can partner with Dryad, please contact us.

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watering-can-simpler-2

As we announced earlier, Dryad will be introducing data publishing fees at the beginning of September. Here’s why we are doing this, and what it will mean for you as a submitter.

Why?

The Data Publishing Charge (DPC) is a modest fee that recovers the basic costs of curation and preservation, and allows Dryad to make its contents freely available for researchers and educators at any institution anywhere in the world.  DPCs provide a broad and fair revenue stream that scales with the costs of maintaining the repository, and helps ensure that Dryad can keep its commitment to long-term accessibility.

Who pays?

There are three cases:

  1. The DPC is waived in its entirety if the submitter is based in a country classified by the World Bank as a low-income or lower-middle-income economy.
  2. For many journals, the society or publisher will sponsor the DPC on behalf of their authors; you can see whether this applies to your journal here (the list is growing quickly, so be sure to check back when you are ready to submit new data).
  3. In the absence of a waiver or a sponsor, the DPC is US$80, payable by the submitter.  Payment details are accepted upon submission, but the fee will not be charged unless and until the data package is accepted for publication.

Two additional fees may apply. Submitters will be charged for data packages in excess of 10GB (US$15 for the first additional GB and US$10 for each GB thereafter), to cover additional storage costs.  If there is no sponsor, and the data package is associated with a journal lacking integrated data and manuscript submission, the submitter will be charged US$10 to cover the additional curation costs.

Submitters may use grant funds, institutional funds, or any other source, as long as payment can be made using a credit card or PayPal.  We regret that submitters cannot be invoiced for single submissions – but please do contact us if you are interested in purchasing a larger group of vouchers for future use.  We encourage researchers to inquire with librarians at their institution about available funding sources, and to budget data publication funds for future submissions into their grants, as part of their data management plan.

Note that there will be no charges for submissions made before the introduction of DPCs in September, regardless of when the data package is accepted for publication.

Help us spread the word

If your organization does not yet sponsor Data Publication Charges, or is not yet a Member, you may wish to let them know that you feel data archiving deserves their financial support.  Dryad offers a variety of flexible payment plans that provide for volume discounts, and there are additional discounts for Member organizations.  Organizations need not be publishers. Universities, funders, libraries and even individual research groups can purchase bundles of single-use vouchers that will cover the DPCs for data packages associated with publications appearing in any journal, as well as other publication types such as monographs and theses.  Prospective sponsors and Members may contact director@datadryad.org to figure out what will work best for their circumstances.

We are grateful for all the input we have received into our sustainability planning, and look forward to the continued support of our community in carrying out our nonprofit mission for many long years to come.  If you have questions or suggestions, please leave a comment or contact us here.

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Dryad is a nonprofit organization fully committed to making scientific and medical research data permanently available to all researchers and educators free-of-charge without barriers to reuse.  For the past four years, we have engaged experts and consulted with our many stakeholders in order to develop a sustainability plan that will ensure Dryad’s content remains free to users indefinitely.  The resulting plan allows Dryad to recoup its operating costs in a way that recovers revenues fairly and in a scalable manner.  The plan includes revenue from submission fees, membership dues, grants and contributions.

A one-time submission fee will offset the actual costs of preserving data in Dryad.  The majority of costs are incurred at the time of submission when curators process new files, and long-term storage costs scale with each submission, so this transparent one-time charge ensures that resources scale with demand.  Dryad offers a variety of pricing plans for journals and other organizations such societies, funders and libraries to purchase discounted submission fees on behalf of their researchers.  For data packages not covered by a pricing plan, the researcher pays upon submission.  Waivers are provided to researchers from developing economies.  See Pricing Plans for a complete list of fees and payment options.  Submission fees will apply to all new submissions starting September 2013.

Membership dues will supplement submission fees, allowing Dryad to maintain its strong ties to the research community through its volunteer Board of Directors, Annual Membership Meetings, and  other outreach activities to researchers, educators and stakeholder organizations.  See Membership Information.

Grants will fund research, development and innovation.

Donations will support all of the above efforts.  In addition, Dryad will occasionally appeal to donors to fund special projects or specific needs, such as preservation of valuable legacy datasets and deposit waivers for researchers from developing economies.

We are grateful for all the input we have received into our sustainability plan, and look forward to your continued support in carrying out our nonprofit mission for many long years to come.

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