Disambiguating Dash and Merritt

What’s Dash? What’s Merritt? What’s the difference? After numerous questions about where things should go and what the differences are between our UC3 services, we got the hint that we are not communicating clearly.

Clearing things up

A group of us sat down and talked through different use cases and what wording we were using that was causing such confusion, and have come up with what we hope is a disambiguation of Dash versus Merritt. 

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Different intentions, different target users

While Dash and Merritt interact with each other at a technical level, they have different intentions and users should not be looking at these two services as a comparison. Dash is optimized for researchers and therefore its user interface, user experience, and metadata schema are optimized for use by individual researchers. Merritt is designed for use by institutional librarians, archivists, and curators.

Because of the different intended purposes, features, and users, UC3 does not recommend that Merritt be advertised to researchers on Research Data Management (RDM) sites or researcher-facing Library Guides.

Below are quick descriptions of each service that should clarify intentions and target users:

  • Dash is an open data publication platform for researchers. Self-service depositing of research data through Dash fulfills publisher, funder, and data management plan requirements regarding data sharing and preservation. When researchers publish their datasets through Dash, their datasets are issued a DOI to optimize citability, are publicly available for download and re-use under a CC BY 4.0 or CC-0 license, and are preserved in Merritt, California Digital Library’s preservation repository.  Dash is available to researchers at participating UC campuses, as well as researchers in Environmental and Earth Sciences through the DataONE network.
  • Merritt is a preservation repository for mediated deposits by UC organizations. We work with staff at UC libraries, archives, and departments to preserve digital assets and collections. Merritt offers bit-level preservation and replication with both public or private access. Merritt is also the preservation repository that preserves Dash-deposited data.

The cost of service vs. the cost of storage

California Digital Library does not charge individual users for the Dash or Merritt services. However, we do recharge your institution for the amount of storage used in Merritt (remember, Dash preserves data in Merritt) on an annual basis.  On most campuses, the Library fully subsidizes Dash storage costs, so there is no extra financial obligation to individual researchers depositing data into Dash.

Follow-up

If you have any questions about edge cases or would like to know any more details about the architecture of the Dash platform or Merritt repository, please get in touch at uc3@ucop.edu.

And while you’re here: check out Dash’s new features for uploading large data sets, and uploading directly from the cloud.

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