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Letter to the Community: CDL and Dryad Partnership

CDL has invested considerable effort researching and building exemplars in research data management and data publishing. Like most institutions, we have had varying levels of success, especially when it comes to adoption and reach. While we have tried to convince our internal stakeholders that they should use tools offered exclusively at the University of California, in many instances, our researchers have taken advantage of tools that are offered to a much broader community, and are better integrated into their workflows.

After some some self reflection, we have determined that we need to pivot.  To drive adoption, we need to meet researchers in their existing workflows. By necessity, that means working at a scale that transcends the boundaries of the University of California. Try as we might (and we have!), publishers won’t be convinced that they should integrate a systemwide repository into their workflow – however, they will consider promoting repositories that have a broader remit.  

As part of this journey, we started talking to Dryad, whom we looked to as experts in building researcher-focused, cross-disciplinary approaches to data curation and data publishing.  In those conversations, it quickly became self-evident that matching Dryad’s model and reach with CDL’s technical expertise and understanding of the institutional space would allow us to make the leap forward we were seeking.  

As a result, we are proud to announce a formal partnership between CDL and Dryad. Our partnership will make it easier to integrate data publishing into researcher workflows, and be focused on building a sustainable product that is a credible alternative to commercial offerings within the research data space. This will help bring value by building broad, sustainable, and values-aligned approaches to data curation. With both CDL and Dryad’s expertise, we will be able to offer:

  1. Researchers: a higher level of service and integration into their established workflows
  2. Publishers: direct integrations and more comprehensive curation services
  3. Institutions: a globally-accessible, community-led, low-cost infrastructure and service that focuses on breaking down silos between publishing, libraries, and research

Amongst many positive changes that will result from this partnership, Dryad will be transitioning onto the CDL Dash data publishing technology. The foundations of Dash were built in an early partnership between CDL and UCSF. My colleague Chris Shaffer, University Librarian at UCSF, put it best: “We are so excited that our early efforts to promote open science and data publishing at UCSF have led to the development of a world-class open source data sharing solution.”

CDL’s immediate next step is to take our ideas to the institutional and library community. We want to provide a non-commercial, mission-aligned, and affordable alternative to commercial products, ensuring that libraries and their non-profit partners have the capacity to manage academic research outputs. In the coming months, CDL and Dryad will be convening meetings and workshops with stakeholders. Our goal is to gather a community of like-minded institutions to help us define the product features, curation approaches, price points, etc. of a new community-led library/institutional Dryad offering.  

We can’t do this alone.  We will need community input and buy-in early and often in order for this project to unlock its full potential.  Of course if you or someone you know would be a good fit for helping with these early stage discussions, please get in touch with myself, John Chodacki (UC3 Director), or Daniella Lowenberg (Dash Product Manager).  

We thank you for your support on this exciting road ahead!

Günter Waibel

Associate Vice Provost & Executive Director, CDL