Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Biological data repository funded by the NSF

Scientific data repository gets $2.18 million boost, a press release from the University of North Carolina School of Library and Information Science, May 8, 2009.  (Thanks to Charles Bailey.)  Excerpt:

A digital data repository that researchers agree has the potential to transform how scientific research is pursued will be expanded with a $2.18 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

The repository, called Dryad, is designed to archive data that underlie published findings in evolutionary biology, ecology and related fields and allow scientists to access and build on each other’s findings....

The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center and the Metadata Research Center have been developing Dryad in coordination with a large group of Journals and Societies in evolutionary biology and ecology. With the new grant, the additional team members are contributing to the development of the repository....

Currently...[t]he lack of data sharing and preservation makes it impossible for the data to be examined or re-used by future investigators.

Dryad addresses these shortcomings and allows scientists to validate published findings, explore new analysis methodologies, repurpose data for research questions unanticipated by the original authors, integrate data across studies and look for trends through statistical meta-analysis.

“The Dryad project seeks to enable scientists to generate new knowledge using existing data,” said Kathleen Smith, Ph.D., principal investigator for the grant, a biology professor at Duke and director of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center. “The key to Dryad in our view is making data deposition a routine and easy part of the publication process.”

Dryad is being designed with a consortium of stakeholders who include representatives of more than a dozen journals in evolutionary biology and ecology....Dryad is intended to serve as a model for the many other scientific disciplines facing similar challenges in data preservation and sharing....