PaperHive Conversations: Meredith Morovati

Data DryadData Dryad

Meredith Morovati has been the Executive Director of Dryad, a curated resource that makes the data underlying scientific publications discoverable,freely reusable, and citable, since late 2014.

Morovati has been working in Management, Marketing, and nonprofits for over eight years. Before that, she spent early days in journal publishing at Blackwell Publishers and Oxford University Press.

Dryad seeks to promote a world where research data is openly available, integrated with the scholarly literature, and routinely re-used to create knowledge […], providing […] the infrastructure for, and promote the re-use of, data underlying the scholarly literature.

Alexander Naydenov, PaperHive‘s Co-founder had an interview with Meredith Morovati about startups in science and their founders as high-impact entrepreneurs.

Meredith Morovati

Meredith Morovati

What or who motivated you to start a business
venture exactly in the field of science?

Dryad was founded by a group of academics and scientists who saw the need to make data openly available in support of scholarly literature. They were worried that much data was being lost simply because the format was not supported in existing repositories. So, they created Dryad. Many of these researchers that were instrumental in starting Dryad still sit on the board of directors and are very active in shaping and growing the organization. It is personally very motivating to see scientists excited about their work and share their excitement for open data with their peers and the wider community.

You are helping some of the smartest people on Earth.
What are the greatest challenges for you when working with them?
What are the greatest benefits?

Some of the challenges can be understanding both the variety of technical needs as well as the unique data from all of science and medicine. We see data from all scientific fields and this includes a large range of file types and subjects. Through our curation team, we are able to communicate directly with data submitters and ensure the data are handled with care. I don’t come from a scientific background myself, and am always pleased when we can make a workflow or issue easy for the researcher and enable them to complete their work. I really enjoy removing obstacles for these very smart and busy people, and then see them be so proud of their work as to promote it on twitter, for instance.

What kind of culture exists in your organization?

We are a remote team that enjoys collaboration. We hold regular video calls to keep in touch and share news through Google hangout and Slack. Our team is extremely productive and focussed but we still make time for virtual water-cooler talk. The last random conversation included lots of dog pictures! We rely on technology to enable us to share pertinent articles, monitor technical updates, and keep abreast of social communication . Dryad has a great culture that is a balance of tech start up and academic group; it is very unique.

The digital transition has been huge for scientific work and the publishing industry.
What is your craziest guess about the next big wave of transformation in the field?

Before Dryad, I worked in academic publishing. I remember being very worried about the “end of the journal article” in 1998. Nearly 20 years later, I see that this is still something that is being claimed as a future challenge. However, what has actually happened over that time is major advancement in personal technology. I believe we’ll continue to see technical developments that allow us to better use information quicker and more effectively. And, as technology continues to advance, I know we’ll see bigger and broader data sets in Dryad. Just last year alone, the size of the average data set in Dryad more than doubled! I’m really looking forward to it!

About the Author

Manuel Bláuab
Editor-in-Chief Manuel Bláuab is a journalist and writer from Argentina. Has worked in radio, newspapers, theater and online publications since early 2000's.