DataCite is excited to announce that Sarala Wimalaratne will join our team in the new role ’Head of Infrastructure Services’ on September 1st. Sarala brings a wealth of experience in the Open Science and PID communities and will be a great addition to our team. Get to know her better via this interview.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about what you did before you will start working for DataCite?
I have been working at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) since 2009. During my time at the EMBL-EBI I have been involved in multiple data integration projects. More recently, I have been leading the Identifiers.org resource, which provides stable identifier resolution for life science data and beyond (S. M. Wimalaratne et al., 2018).
In the last few years I have been working more closely with DataCite on several projects (THOR, DCPPC and FREYA around standardizing identifier metadata and services (S. Wimalaratne & Fenner, 2018, Fenner et al. (2018)), Fenner, Wass, Demeranville, Wimalaratne, & Hallett (2019)]. Therefore, moving to DataCite after my time at the EMBL-EBI is very exciting as it allows me to continue working in the world of identifiers.
2. What lessons you learned from working on the identifiers.org service could benefit DataCite?
I lead the work on reimplementing Identifiers.org in the Google Cloud Platform which was released in June 2019. The old infrastructure was running since 2006 and we had to prioritize which services needed to be moved to the new infrastructure for the first release. I spent time with our users and the community prioritizing our services. The experience I gained from consulting the users and leading the redevelopment can be highly valuable for DataCite. We focused on providing stable, reliable, fast and simple to use services to our users.
3. What interested you in the job at DataCite? Any particular problems that you would like to work on?
DataCite store metadata for all the identifiers. The metadata can be used to provide useful links between datasets and integrate with Google Dataset Search (Noy, Cousijn, Hirsch, & Fenner, 2018). It would be great to work on building services to improve FAIRness of data.
I would also like to work on growing the user community of DataCite DOIs. When publishing data in most fields, it is still common practice to provide parts of data as supplementary material or even embedded in text. We need to work with publishers and the scientific community to get everyone understand the need for assigning identifiers in this connected world.
4. What aspects of application development are you particularly interested in?
During my time at the EMBL-EBI, I have been responsible for developing and delivering complete applications and services. I am interested in developing services that have an impact on the users. This would sometimes mean working on the backend to provide faster reliable services and other times it could be that the user interface needs improvements for easy access.
5. Any particular programming language or framework you would like to learn/understand better while working at DataCite?
I am very excited to be able to work with Amazon Web Services. I also hope that there will be an opportunity to apply Machine Learning techniques work with the DataCite metadata.
Fenner, M., Crosas, M., Durand, G., Wimalaratne, S., Gräf, F., Hallett, R., … Clark, T. (2018, March). Listing of data repositories that embed schema.org metadata in dataset landing pages. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1263942
Fenner, M., Wass, J., Demeranville, T., Wimalaratne, S., & Hallett, R. (2019). D2.2 pID metadata provenance. https://doi.org/10.5281/ZENODO.3248652
Noy, N., Cousijn, H., Hirsch, M., & Fenner, M. (2018). Google dataset search webinar - everything you always wanted to know about google dataset search. DataCite Blog. https://doi.org/10.5438/4SDJ-HF49
Wimalaratne, S. M., Juty, N., Kunze, J., Janée, G., McMurry, J. A., Beard, N., … Clark, T. (2018). Uniform resolution of compact identifiers for biomedical data. Scientific Data, 5, 180029. https://doi.org/10.1038/sdata.2018.29
Wimalaratne, S., & Fenner, M. (2018). D2.1 pid resolution services best practices. https://doi.org/10.5281/ZENODO.1324300