Dryad Membership Meeting & data publishing symposium

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Mark Your Calendar!

The 2013 Dryad Membership Meeting

St Anne’s College, Oxford, UK

24 May 2013

The Dryad Membership Meeting will cap off a series of separate but related events spotlighting trends in scholarly communication and research data.  Highlights include:

  • A data publishing symposium on May 22 – Featuring new initiatives and current issues in data publishing (open to the public, nominal registration fee may apply).
  • A Joint Dryad-ORCID Symposium on Research Attribution on May 23 – On the changing culture and technology of how credit is assigned and tracked for data, software, and other research outputs (Public).
  • Dryad Membership Meeting on May 24 – Help chart the course for the organization’s future (Dryad Members only).

More details to be announced soon.

New repository features

A number of enhancements to the repository have been made in recent months, including these three that were in high demand from users:

  • First, we have modified our submission process to enable the data to be deposited prior to editorial review of the manuscript. Journals that integrate manuscript and data submission at the review stage can now offer their editors and peer reviewers anonymous access to the data in Dryad while the manuscript is in review. This option is currently being used by several of our partner journals, BMJ Open, Molecular Ecology, and Systematic Biology, and is available to any existing or future integrated journal. Note: authors still begin their data deposit process at the journal.
  • Second, when authors submit data associated with previously published articles, they can pull up the article information using the article DOI or its PubMed ID, greatly simplifying the deposition process for legacy data.
  • Third, Dryad now supports versioning of datafiles. Authors can upload new versions of their files to correct or update the original file. Once logged in to their Dryad account, the My Submissions option appears under My Account in the left side-menu. Prior unfinished and completed submissions are listed; selecting an archived submission allows the author to add a new file.  Note that the earlier versions of the file will still be available to users, but the metadata may be modified to reflect the reason for the update. The DOIs will be appended with a number (e.g., “.1”, “.2”) so that each version can be uniquely referenced.  By default, users will be shown the most current version of each datafile.  They will be notified of the existence of any previous/subsequent versions.
  • Access and download statistics have been displayed for content in the repository since late 2010; Dryad now displays the statistics for an article’s data together on one page so you can see at a glance how many times the page has been viewed and how many times each component data file has been downloaded. Check out this example from Evolutionary Applications.

American Geophysical Union position statement on data

“Because the state of natural systems is never repeated, data losses, or missed data collection opportunities can never be corrected.”  So says the AGU, recently reaffirming the importance of data availability and preservation.earth-sunrise

The statement offers strong support for data archiving and publication as a routine part of the research process.

The cost of collecting, processing, validating, and submitting data to a recognized archive should be an integral part of research and operational programs. Such archives should be adequately supported with long-term funding. Organizations and individuals charged with coping with the explosive growth of Earth and space digital data sets should develop and offer tools to permit fast discovery and efficient extraction of online data, manually and automatically, thereby increasing their user base. The scientific community should recognize the professional value of such activities by endorsing the concept of publication of data, to be credited and cited like the products of any other scientific activity, and encouraging peer-review of such publications.

The full statement from the AGU Council can be found here.

Article summarizes benefits of data publication

A recent article, Motivating Online Publication of Data, in BioScience identifies multiple benefits for scientific authors when they publish data online.   Among them are:

•    additional publications
•    greater citation rate
•    invitations to collaborate

Author Mark Costello is a marine biologist at the University of Auckland, and has written widely on ocean biodiversity informatics.

Costello argues that Considering that science is based on observations, it is astonishing that the publication of primary data is not a universal and mandatory part of science.

He presents a cogent analysis of why data publication is crucial, how it can be encouraged, and what scientists, editors, and publishers must do to ensure access to data.   In addition to itemizing varied and far-reaching benefits to data archiving, he also repeats oft-stated reasons scientists have given for not making their data available, and rebuts them succinctly.

Authors are not the only beneficiaries when data is openly available.   Considerable benefits exist for editors, publishers, data centers and funding agencies, including:

•    independent verification of research findings
•    increased citations to related research papers
•    better financial return from research investment

Data sharing is fundamental for scientific advancement; no arguments there.  But how encourage data publication as a routine component of scientific research?  We need to identify the benefits, and ensure that repositories, publishers, and other participants in the research process pay attention to incentives, implicit and otherwise, throughout the publication cycle.

Costello’s article is a good place to start.