Business Plan and Sustainability

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This page describes Dryad's business and sustainability plans.


Dryad's sustainability is being addressed by implementing a nonprofit governance and revenue model that has been developed over the past three years by diverse stakeholders in the research, publishing, library and funder communities. As new journal and funder mandates raise demand and expectations for data management, preservation, and dissemination services, Dryad - as a stable, community-governed organization - aims to be in a position to provide the necessary infrastructure, as well as provide a focused forum for participating journals, societies and publishers to take coordinated, and well-informed, steps toward improved policy and practice.

Dryad’s sustainability plan is based on three key principles:

  1. Dryad requires sufficient resources to ensure that data can be responsibly preserved and freely downloaded into the indefinite future.
  2. Sources of revenue must scale with costs, which are primarily driven by the number of deposits.
  3. Membership and service fees should be distributed fairly.

Current status

Both the Dryad Bylaws and Cost Recovery Plan were approved by the Interim Board of Dryad in early May 2012. The Bylaws were adopted by the Board of Directors in July 2012. Dryad has incorporated in North Carolina, and is applying for non-profit status. For more about the governance history and structure of the Dryad organization, see Governance.

Cost Recovery Plan

The Dryad Cost Recovery Plan is based on the framework that emerged from the Dryad Board meeting of July 2011, informed by consultations with sustainability experts and discussions with stakeholders dating back to May 2007. Download the plan.

The revenue streams described are for recovery of operating costs (e.g. business management, curation of new deposits, user support, interoperability with new journals, migration and replication of content, hardware software maintenance, costs of outside services, etc.). Research and development of new capabilities will continue to be funded through project grants, and Dryad will continue to seek support from foundations, government funding bodies, and private donors to support its core mission and reduce costs to users.

Payment plans for deposits

Deposits may be paid in one of four ways. The initial, baseline, member-discounted rate per data package (including all the material associated with one published article) will be approximately $50, pending review of budget projections by the elected Board of Directors. The plans charge at a rate that may differ from the baseline to reflect differences in transaction and business costs. Dryad offers three payment plans for organizations and institutions that wish to support data deposits by their affiliates, plus the option for depositors to Pay-on-Deposit:

  • 1. Subscription Plan: The organization prepays to cover all data packages associated with that journal or journals that are published and deposited in Dryad during the time of the contract. The annual fee is half the baseline charge times the average annual number of all the research articles published in the previous three years. Contracts are undertaken for 2-year terms.
  • 2. Deferred payment plan: The organization commits to pay retrospectively for the number of data packages made during the previous period (e.g. quarterly or annually). Deposits would be charged at the baseline rate plus a surcharge reflecting the costs of delayed payment. There are no bulk discounts. Contracts are for a 1 year term.
  • 3. Voucher plan: The organization pays in advance at the baseline rate for a fixed number of data packages. There are no bulk discounts. Vouchers are available in blocks of 25.
  • 4. Pay-on-deposit: If none of the above payment plans is applicable to a given deposit, a fee of $80 is charged, payable by the depositor at the time of submission.


  • Membership in Dryad is open to the full spectrum of stakeholder organizations, including but not limited to journals, learned societies, publishers, research institutions, libraries, and funding bodies. Members have a say in the governance of the organization through nomination and election of its Board of Directors, receive discounts on deposit fees, and participate in a knowledge sharing network that is capped by an annual membership meeting to stay informed about new innovations in scholarly communication of research data.
  • Membership is not required for integration of manuscript and data submission, nor for participation in one of the payment plans described above. Members do receive the member discount for deposits, as described above.
  • Charter Members are those that were counted as Interim Partners at the time of the July 2011 Board Meeting. Annual dues are waived for Charter Members for the first three years in which dues are levied.

Other charges

  • Membership fees: Annual membership fees help defray the communication and meeting costs associated with a large membership-based organization.
    • $1,000 for organizations with budgets less than $10 million/year
    • $5,000 for organizations with budgets above $10 million/year
  • Excess storage: For data packages in excess of the 10 GB size limit, a fee will be charged of $15 for the first GB and $10 for each additional GB or part thereof to cover the additional storage needs.
  • Non-integrated journal surcharge: For deposits from journals without integration of data submission, a fee of $10 per data package will be charged to cover the additional manual curation required.
  • No set-up costs: No charge shall be levied for setting up standard integration of data submission to Dryad via the manuscript handling system of a journal.

All amounts are in US Dollars.

Discounts and waivers

  • Member discounts: The fees will reflect a 10% discount for deposits associated with Members in good standing.
  • Waivers: Where deposit costs are not otherwise covered, the repository will seek to provide waivers for deposits from authors in low-income countries.


The Cost Recovery Plan will be implemented as determined by the 2012 Dryad Board of Directors. The Board will finalize these fees in November 2012. The cost-recovery framework, including the detailed charging scheme, will be re-assessed by the Board of Directors on an annual basis.

Other funding

Dryad continues to seek grant funding to support R&D activities. For information about Dryad's past and present grant funding, see Grants.