Dryad & Zenodo: Our Path Ahead

In July, 2019 we were proud to announce a funded partnership between Dryad and Zenodo. Today, we are excited to give an update on our future together. 

Dryad and Zenodo have both been leading the way in open-source data, software, and other research outputs publishing for the last decade. While our focus and adoption mechanisms may have been different, we’ve had similar values and goals all along: publish and archive non-traditional research outputs in an open and accessible way that promotes best practices. 

In looking to expand our capacities for sharing data and software, it became clear that we could each benefit from the other’s expertise. Dryad has long focused on research data, curating each dataset published, and working in close coordination with publishers and societies to support journal data policies. Zenodo, based at CERN, builds on strong infrastructure capacity and has focused on software publishing and citation. It was clear that by working together, leveraging each other’s expertise, we could better achieve our goals.

Notably, we believe researchers should have an opportunity to publish curated data, software, and other research outputs at a trusted, open source set of repositories in a seamless way.

At the beginning of February, we brought our two teams together to understand the repository systems, roadmaps, and to map our work ahead. We have broken down this work into a couple of segments and will be beginning with our first project, as noted on our Github, as “DJ D-Zed: Mixing Up Repositories”. In other words, we will be integrating our two systems to lower the barrier for researchers who want to follow best practices publishing their software, data, and supporting information. The first direction of focus is publishing from Dryad to Zenodo.

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So, what does it all look like?

This project entails re-imagining the Dryad upload interface to expand the scope of upload to accommodate researchers uploading more than data. Within this interface, through a series of declarations and machine reading, we will triage data, software, and supporting (other) files. Data should be curated and published at Dryad. Software requires a series of different license options, metadata, and other attributes and supporting files benefit from a previewer, so these files are more appropriately published at Zenodo. 

After curation, once the items are ready to be published, it is essential that we can link up the work with their DOIs and citations to both. As Dryad and Zenodo each mint DOIs for published works, it is our responsibility to expose the relationship between the software, data, and other citations so users can find all related work. The benefit of having separate citations for software and data will allow for more specified citation practices at journals, in preprints, etc. 

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It is essential that we acknowledge the importance of user testing. We have identified our minimum viable product, but the look and feel of this relies on close collaboration with our user experience teams and researcher user testing. This integration can only succeed if researchers find the benefits of using one entry point for two repositories, and are educated along the way about best practices for data and software. We’ll be planning opportunities for feedback at specific milestones, and appreciate comments via email or github comments along the way. 

What happens next

Our partnership relies on cross-organization co-development. Our teams have been spending time to understand how Dryad and Zenodo both function to ensure we are building for success for each of our user communities. Our initial user testing is about to ramp up, and we have begun the exploration into backend development to tie our systems closer together. As avid open-source supporters, all of our work will be tracked publicly on Github. Our code and documentation will also be available as new features are released.

User testing our workflows with researchers will help guide our development, but we also need to understand how this work can support Dryad and Zenodo’s larger communities: institutions, libraries, publishers, societies, funding agencies, and others that have a stake in research data and software publishing. We will have regular opportunities for feedback and we hope you will weigh in.

Check out our blogs for updates as well as our Twitter to hear about upcoming meetings we will be presenting at. And If you have feedback please as always get in touch with our Product Managers at Dryad and Zenodo.

 

Deep Roots & Strong Branches: A Recap and Preview of Dryad’s Development Plans

Happy 2020! Kicking off the new year, our product development team wanted to take a moment to introduce our development processes and provide a glimpse into Dryad’s future directions. 2019 was an exciting year with our growth of 15% in submissions and the release of our new Dryad. This release was the culmination of a year and a half of work building a new, combined product development team (at Dryad and CDL) and developing new features to support Dryad’s user base. Since then, the work has not stopped. Our team has been working to continually meet user needs and better our services. 

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Members of the Product Development Team launching the new Dryad in September, 2019 (Left to Right: Daniella Lowenberg, Ryan Scherle, Marisa Strong, Scott Fisher, Brian Riley)

 

The Dryad development process

The Dryad product development team follows agile methodologies, working and releasing in  two-week sprints. This means we prioritize feature development and bug fixes based on user needs (which are ever evolving). This work is tracked on our public project board here.  Feature development also includes working with our user experience team to design interfaces that are both accessible for and understood by our users. Outward-facing features are tested for specific user groups (researchers, curators, members, etc) before development and before each release. At the end of each sprint, we post our release notes covering at a high (and sometimes technical) level what was completed. 

This type of development work means that we depend on community feedback to help identify the features necessary for making data publishing as easy as possible and for ensuring that published datasets are usable. There are hundreds of features we would love to build or enhance, and hearing productive feedback from the community helps to guide our development priorities. If you have a feature request, or would like to report a bug, you may log a ticket here. Our product manager consistently grooms through cards and will be in touch with more questions when that work is prioritized.

What we’ve been building

In the last three months, we have been primarily focused on ensuring the new platform can support the growing Dryad community. This means building up a robust, accessible platform and enhancing researcher facing features.

One of Dryad’s key strengths is its high adoption rate. This means that the platform receives heavy traffic loads. To support these loads over the long term and as the user base grows, we have been putting in various reinforcement features like load balancing our servers, improving reliability of our downloads, and actively monitoring/blocking bots as necessary to ensure the site can avoid any downtime.

Our other development work has included addressing accessibility and feature optimization, including:

  • Adjustments to our interface to be a more accessible service for our users
  • Enhancements for the auto-fill features (journal name, institutional affiliations) to reduce lag and better the author submission process
  • Updating our DataCite schema, allowing for Dryad to send author institutional affiliations (RORs) to DataCite, enabling better tracking of dataset publications by affiliation and support consumption by initiatives like FREYA and Make Data Count.

This foundational work is key to strengthen the system and prepare for new feature development work in 2020 and beyond. 

Where we are headed

Continuing to work in our two-week sprints, we will be building essential features for the researchers using Dryad (e.g., integrations, geolocation) as well as more complex functionality for our growing institutional and publisher member communities (e.g., integrations, reporting, data metrics aggregation). We also have embarked on a couple of larger projects that we are excited to share.

  • Zenodo – Dryad Partnership: Following on our announcement in July, 2019, we have embarked on a project to integrate Zenodo and Dryad, with a goal to provide researchers with a more seamless data, code, and other materials publishing process. While the initial work has already been scoped, our official kick-off meeting is in a couple of weeks and we will update the community shortly thereafter with our project plans.
  • Editorial Manager & ScholarOne Integrations: Since many Dryad authors publish data in conjunction with an article, we have been building a direct integration with Editorial Manager, a leading journal submission platform. This work will allow for researchers submitting to a journal that uses Editorial Manager to have the option to publish their data at Dryad without actually leaving the Editorial Manager (article submission) system. We look forward to sharing more information about this implementation in the spring. We have also been working to map a similar integration with ScholarOne that will enable thousands of journals to integrate directly with Dryad.

Our open REST APIs are documented and available for use. We have been talking with undergraduate and graduate level students looking for coding projects to build integrations into our platform with R, Python, Jupyter, rOpenSci, and Binder. If you are interested in working with our APIs, get in touch!

We have a busy year ahead and we look forward to working with both researchers and research supporting communities, continuing to make data publishing as seamless as possible. Follow along our blog and twitter for further updates.