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Archive for the ‘Staff’ Category

Did you ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes when Dryad curators review data files submitted by authors?  There are no wizards behind our curtains, just real live information specialists and trained data curators.

by Kaptain Kobold via Flickr

by Kaptain Kobold via Flickr

Dryad’s curation process is intentionally lightweight, so it doesn’t delay the availability of the data. Curators don’t review the scientific merit of the files – that is left to peer reviewers and the scientific community. Instead, we rely on our curators’ expertise in library and information science to ensure the integrity and preservation of the data.

Curators perform basic checks on each submission (can the files be opened? are they free of copyright restrictions? do they appear to be free of sensitive data?). The completeness and correctness of the metadata is checked and the DOI is officially registered. During their work, Dryad curators encounter thousands of data files in any number of file formats. Our team examines all of these data files to ensure they do, in fact, include data, and not manuscripts, or pictures of kittens.

Curators may communicate directly with submitters to address issues and/or to make suggestions about enhancing the description and reusability of the data package. They can also create new versions of data packages should corrections or additions be needed after archiving. Ultimately, the responsibility for the content of the files rests with the submitters, but Dryad’s curators can help to catch and fix many common problems – and some rare ones, too.

fileTypes_wordleSince Dryad’s inception, curation operations have been led by the Metadata Research Center (or MRC) directed by Dr. Jane Greenberg, initially at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and now at Drexel University. The team is supervised by Senior Curator Erin Clary, and currently includes all students in, or graduates of, Library and Information Science (LIS) or Informatics Master’s programs.

So, (wizard) hats off to all our behind-the-curtains data curators, whose vital contributions ensure that the data in the repository is findable and usable. If you have a question about Dryad curation or need advice on preparing your data for archiving, don’t hesitate to email us at curator@datadryad.org.

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mm3We are delighted to introduce Meredith Morovati to the Dryad community. Meredith assumed the role of Executive Director in late 2014, and now that she has had a few months to settle in, we thought this would be a good time to check in with her and hear about her plans for the organization. Before joining Dryad, Meredith was the Vice President of Membership for the American Society of Echocardiography. Her experience prior to that includes stints in the publishing world. with Oxford University Press and Blackwell.

You’ve been on the job just over three months. What has been your impression of Dryad so far?
MM: Dryad is driven by a team of passionate and informed curators, developers, scientists and board members. I have been incredibly impressed by the staff’s commitment and how much they care about what they do. Everyone recognizes that Dryad is not only providing a service, but helping to shape the very landscape of data publishing, which is great to be a part of.

What excites you about this position and how does it build on your prior professional experiences?
MM: I am delighted to be able to apply my experience with academic boards and non-profit management to an organization that is positioned to grow dramatically in the near future. Data publication poses many challenges, yet has so much value to offer to researchers, publishers, librarians, and all of us who benefit from quality scientific and medical research. I am excited to be surrounded by informed and passionate individuals and to put my experience to work making data publication mainstream and sustainable.

What do you see as your top priorities for Dryad?
MM: I see an important role in removing barriers to the natural growth of Dryad’s service, and continuing to build relationships with its diversity of stakeholders. I believe there is a lot more work to be done talking to research communities in different corners of science and medicine on the imperative for data publication and how Dryad can be part of the solution. Dryad is integrated with many well-known journals and has some very prestigious and committed members. But there are many more to whom we need to make the case that data publication is valuable, achievable, and sustainable, and that Dryad is a key piece to that puzzle. Another big part of my job in the coming year will be to getting to know our members and hearing from them about how we can continue to improve the services we provide, both through the repository and through the other activities of the organization.

What can Dryad’s members and users expect to see in the coming year?
MM: First, I think members and users will be impressed with how much Dryad grows and diversifies this year. We are continually integrating manuscript and data submission with new journals, and the diversity of data packages we are now publishing can be seen by those we feature on nearly a daily basis on our social media channels. We are also pleased to be seeing a trend toward having a greater share of articles with data in Dryad from many of our partner journals.

Another trend that we hope will continue is more journals providing their reviewers with access to the draft Dryad data package. I believe that when reviewers pay attention to the data, it will naturally lead to higher quality, more reusable content.

As we grow, we are also working to increase the pool of sponsors, so that submission of data will be free to a greater share of those submitting data to the repository. There are a number of features in the works that will allow stakeholder organizations to see what has been published from the publications and researchers they care about, and how much attention and usage that data is getting, which we hope will make the benefits of sponsorship more apparent.

There’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes to streamline the curation process while continuing to provide personalized user support where needed. This work will allow us to continue scaling up the number of data packages we publish without compromising the attention each one receives.

We expect researchers will also appreciate the enhancements we are making to the data submission experience. We are particularly excited about the upcoming rollout of ORCiDs, which among other things will make it easier for coauthors to collaborate on data packages.

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