Towards a Symbiotic Relationship Between Academic Libraries and Disciplinary Data Repositories: A Dryad and University of Michigan Case Study

  • Katherine G. Akers
  • Jennifer A. Green


In addition to encouraging the deposit of research data into institutional data repositories, academic librarians can further support research data sharing by facilitating the deposit of data into external disciplinary data repositories.

In this paper, we focus on the University of Michigan Library and Dryad, a repository for scientific and medical data, as a case study to explore possible forms of partnership between academic libraries and disciplinary data repositories. We found that although few University of Michigan researchers have submitted data to Dryad, many have recently published articles in Dryad-integrated journals, suggesting significant opportunities for Dryad use on our campus. We suggest that academic libraries could promote the sharing and preservation of science and medical data by becoming Dryad members, purchasing vouchers to cover researchers’ data submission costs, and hosting local curators who could directly work with campus researchers to improve the accuracy and completeness of data packages and thereby increase their potential for re-use.

By enabling the use of both institutional and disciplinary data repositories, we argue that academic librarians can achieve greater success in capturing the vast amounts of data that presently fail to depart researchers’ hands and making that data visible to relevant communities of interest.

General Articles