This post is part of a new series we’re calling the Curators Corner. Over the coming months we’ll feature a different DCN Curator each week or so. The series grew out of a community-building activity wherein curators at our ten partner organizations interview each other “chain-letter style” in order to get to know each other and their work outside of the DCN better. We hope you enjoy these posts!

Erin Clary is a Senior Curator at Dryad and serves as both a Curator and Dryad’s Representative for the DCN. Erin was interviewed by DCN Project Coordinator Liza Coburn in March of 2019.


How did you come to your current position?

Dryad is an NSF grant funded project. One of the Dryad PIs, Dr. Jane Greenberg, was a professor at UNC SILS (now at Drexel). She introduced me to the project, and supervised my masters paper, which looked at data citation in data sharing articles. After I graduated, a position opened at Dryad, I applied, and I’ve been with Dryad ever since.

What do you do?

I do some curation, but I also coordinate curation activities (review submissions and assign to other curators). I answer questions related to submissions that come in through our help desk, and work with managing editors at our partner journals – it’s my job to ensure that datasets move smoothly through our workflow. 

How much of your job involves data curation?

It depends on how you define curation. If you mean, seeing a submission through the whole process – maybe 25%, but I touch a lot of submissions, and can get involved at various parts (or any part) of the process, including updates to archived submissions. Nearly 100% of my job is curation-related! 

Why is data curation important to you?

Data curation is important because data is important to the research process. I studied Biology, and the scientific process is important to me. I believe the process should be transparent, and people should get credit for all products of research – including data. Data curation has the potential to make the data better, which makes the research better – hopefully.

Why is the Data Curation Network important?

It’s a community. Curating and publishing data online – publicly – is still pretty new, so having a community to turn to in working out the issues, sharing our experiences, learning from each other, coming up with shared practices or standards, is a good thing. 

If you weren’t doing data curation, what would you be doing?

Cooking – professionally. Or epidemiology! 


To learn more about Erin, and some of the datasets she’s curated for the DCN see her curator page!