GigaScience is an online, open-access journal that includes the database GigaDB.
The recent addition of two new curation staff has allowed the implementation of a new image-viewer for 3D image datasets as well as a multitude of other small changes to the curation process. This is a story of the transition of one of those new curators from a MOD curator to GigaDB curator, with insight into why GigaScience and GigaDB are successful and what the MODs can learn from us.
GigaScience and GigaDB are managed using the FAIR Principles for scientific data management and stewardship that state that research data should be Findable, Accessible, Inter-operable and Reusable. We know that both journals and MODs want to embrace these principles. The question is how can it be achieved? To quote a journal editor from the ISB conference, Cambridge 2013 "We need to make authors WANT to make their data available". Journals have 'power' to insist that data is submitted to repositories because they have the stick, but with the addition of the carrot things would be even smoother.
With excellent outreach services and a submission process where authors are assigned a named curator, we believe GigaDB redresses the balance. We aim for a quick turn around and we work very closely with both the authors and the editorial team. As a result GigaDB is very successful in obtaining data from authors. Obviously authors are keen to publish their data and therefore feel motivated to work with us. We are lucky in that as a general rule it appears most authors that submit to GigaScience are very well informed about data sharing and the public repositories that already exist for their data, and how to submit to them.
It is perhaps true that there are still many other (non-GigaScience) authors that do not have the same desire/knowledge, and there is further outreach and training required in this area. This is an issue that was discussed in a workshop at ISB Geneva 2016, and the MODs could do more outreach work to make the submission process easier with streamlined submission pipelines, and raising the profile within the wider community.