Greetings to the DataCite community! I’m Maria Gould, and I’ve just joined DataCite as Director of Product. I’m excited to have this opportunity to introduce myself and share a bit about where I’m from and how I got here.
I live in Portland, Oregon, USA, where the city is bisected by the Willamette River. Twelve different bridges span the river to connect the city’s east and west sides, enabling vehicles, trains, pedestrians, and bicyclists (and one bagpiping unicyclist!) to travel back and forth. As boats and cargo ships travel up and down the river, some bridges are high enough for them to pass under, and the rest are designed to lift up temporarily to let them through. Each bridge has a unique design and its own character, but they all serve a common purpose of connecting the city and letting those within it get from one place to another.
Why am I talking about Portland’s bridges? I’ve been thinking about them as I join the DataCite team and reflect on how the theme of connections has defined my work over the past decade, and on why infrastructure is so important to our communities.
My path to DataCite has traversed multiple regions of the scholarly communications landscape. This journey began at PLOS, where I was involved in the early wave of seismic shifts in scholarly publishing, working toward the goal of opening up access to research for all. This inspired me to pursue a Master’s degree in Library & Information Science, which led me to a position at the UC Berkeley Library supporting researchers and librarians in navigating the changing landscape of open access, exploring new avenues for publishing open research, and understanding the complexities of copyright in an increasingly digitized world. I then had an opportunity to move to the California Digital Library (CDL) to focus on the underlying foundations of scholarly communications, leading both infrastructure development and community-based initiatives focused on leveraging persistent identifiers to network research and on establishing best practices around the adoption and use of PIDs.
As part of my work at CDL, I worked with community partners to launch the Research Organization Registry (ROR), which has become the leading standard identifier for organizations and adopted widely around the world, including at DataCite. (As DataCite is one of ROR’s operating organizations, my work at ROR will be ongoing after this transition.)
The research landscape has seen multiple transformations over the years, but for libraries and infrastructure providers and research supporters, our goal remains the same: to enable greater access to information, and to help communities use and advance knowledge for the greater good. Like Portland’s bridges, scholarly infrastructure connects people, places, and things, and it works best when it can be accessed and used by all.
As I mentioned in a farewell post at CDL, the work of building and supporting an open and effective and more connected research ecosystem depends on active community engagement and input and on building collaboratively and iteratively toward common goals, rather than working in silos or reinventing something that already exists. We need to reinforce our existing bridges to ensure long-term stability and to mitigate future risks, and we need to identify opportunities where new bridges are needed.
DataCite has been a leading example of a community-driven infrastructure initiative. In my new role, I will be taking inspiration from my home city of Portland to focus on building bridges and strengthening connections across our teams, members, and communities. I’m excited about the journey ahead, and I invite you to be in touch to share your ideas for the future.