University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Dryad)


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Dryad)

Dryad is a membership-based non-profit organization registered in the United States, with members drawn from across a range of stakeholder organizations, including scientific societies, publishers, government agencies, research organizations, libraries and funders. The mission of Dryad is to enable the long-term availability of the data that forms the evidence base for findings in the published bioscience literature for validation and reuse.

The centerpiece of the organization is the Dryad Digital Repository, which aims to make it both simple and rewarding for researchers to publish data. The National Science Foundation currently provides funding for research and development in support of the repository, through funding to a number of universities, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The repository is also supported by revenue from Data Publication Charges and membership fees in order to ensure long-term sustainability.

Past support from JISC to Oxford University was critical in development of the repository business plan.

All content in Dryad is associated with a publication. A key feature of the repository is that that the submission process is streamlined through integration with the manuscript submission process of many journals (currently over 50); however, researchers may still submit content from non-integrated journals. Integrated journals have the option of making data securely and privately available to peer reviewers and editors prior to acceptance. Integrated journals may also allow researchers to embargo data until the corresponding publication appears, or for a limited time afterward, as determined by the editor.

Metadata and files are quality controlled by a professional curation staff. The high quality metadata enable the content to be effectively indexed by major bibliographic and web resources and promote data discoverability. Terms of reuse are explicit and non-restrictive; all content is provided under the terms of a CC0 waiver, ensuring availability for reuse. Data are preserved and made available for the long-term through a partnership with the CLOCKSS archive (Controlled LOCKSS (Lots Of Copies Keep Stuff Save)).

Dryad very deliberately promotes a cultural shift toward archiving of research data by considering the researchers who provide the data to be important customers. Unlike the format and size restrictions imposed by many publishers on supplementary content they host, Dryad allows researchers to post data in the form they feel is optimal for data reuse. Researchers may update data files and make corrections or amendments without overwriting the original versions. Researchers get credit for reuse of data through promotion of best-practice data citation policy and infrastructure for tracking data citations.

Download statistics are made available so that researchers can get credit for usage of their data. Downloads are valuable since they capture use even in contexts that citations may miss (e.g. the classroom), but reliable counts of data citation would be tremendously valuable.

Dryad is designed to curate the data from thousands of new articles each year. Since its founding in 2009, Dryad has already received data associated with nearly 100 different journals.

Dryad is a member of ORCiD. ORCiD IDs are being integrated into the Dryad system in order to unambiguously associate scholarly identities with the accounts of data submitters and the authors of Dryad content.

Dryad mints DataCite DOIs through the California Digital Library EZID system. DOIs are important in providing global, persistent, resolvable identifiers that stamp data as first class scholarly objects and allow reciprocal linking from journal articles, among other services.

The repository is currently publishing data at a rate of approximately 2,500 data packages per year. The content in the repository is associated with over 350 different journals and over 20,000 different authors. Usage is particularly widespread within ecology, environmental science, and evolutionary biology.

Files are downloaded at a rate of approximately 25,000 per month across the whole repository.