On May 24, we held the first virtual Dryad Community Meeting, which allowed us to connect both with our membership and with the larger open data community, far and wide. The theme was “Leadership in data publishing: Dryad and learned societies.”
Following an introduction and update about Dryad from yours truly, we heard about the experiences from representatives of three of Dryad’s member societies.
- Emilio Bruna, editor of Biotropica, a journal of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
- Rhiannon Meaden, from The Royal Society
- Erika Newton, from the British Ecological Society
All three societies require that data be archived in an appropriate repository as a condition of publication in their journals. Yet, they have each taken considerable time and effort to develop policies that address the needs and concerns of their different communities.
Bruna spoke about working with an audience that routinely gathers data for very long-term studies. For many Biotropica authors, embargoes are seen as an important prerequisite for data publishing. Their data policy “includes a generous embargo period of up to three years to ensure authors have ample time to publish multiple papers from more complex or long-term data sets”. Biotropica’s policy also recommends those “who re-use archived data sets to include as fully engaged collaborators the scientists who originally collected them”. To address initial resistance to data archiving, and to build understanding and consensus, Biotropica “enlisted its critics” to contribute to a paper discussing the pros and cons of data publication. Out of this process emerged an innovative policy that went into effect at the start of 2016.
Meaden, by contrast, noted that only 8% of Proceedings B authors elect to embargo data in Dryad, and the standard embargo is for only one year after publication. She credited clearer author instructions and a data availability statement in the manuscript submission system as key elements that have increased the availability of data associated with Royal Society publications.
Newton discussed BES’ move from “encouraging data publication” in 2012 to requiring it in 2014. As shown below, this resulted in an impressive increase in the availability of data. Next, the society is looking to develop guidance on data reuse etiquette. Newton noted that this effort would “need to be community-led.”
While each speaker reported on unique challenges, all shared commonalities, such as:
- involving the specific community in policy decisions
- incrementally increasing efforts to make data available
- the importance of clear author instructions
We greatly appreciate the excellent contributions from the panelists, as well all the members and other attendees who participated and contributed to the lively Q&A.
We are also pleased that the virtual format was well received. In our follow-up survey, many of the attendees said they found it easy to ask questions and appreciated the ability to join remotely.
Our aim is that these meetings continue to be a valued forum for our diverse community of stakeholders to share knowledge and discuss emerging issues. If you have suggestions on topics for future meetings, or an interest in becoming a member, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.