December 11, 2019, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham
Community building to champion Open Research
This week we hear from Connie Clare, a PhD student on the Graduate School managed Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Doctoral Training Programme (BBSRC DTP), about her Professional Internship Placement (PIP).
As a winner of the ‘Better Science through Better Data 2018’ Early Career Researcher writing competition, I was invited to attend #Scidata18, an annual conference hosted by Springer Nature and the Wellcome Trust at London’s iconic Natural History Museum to celebrate Open Research and write my news report on the day’s events.
During #Scidata18, TU Delft Data Stewardship coordinator, Marta Teperek, introduced the Data Stewardship programme to demonstrate how building a community of data specialists can help to drive a cultural change towards proper research data management (RDM) and Open Research within an academic institution. In 2018, TU Delft launched their Data Champion programme to build on this existing infrastructure and create a cohesive web of RDM support across all eight university faculties.
Inspired by the idea of building a community to champion Open Research, I approached Marta during the coffee break at #Scidata18 and enquired about the possibility of undertaking my professional internship placement at TU Delft. The following months were spent organising my internship, with the support of University of Nottingham Graduate School, and in June 2019 I travelled to the Netherlands to promote the work of the Data Champions.
What is a Data Champion?
Currently, there are 47 Data Champions and the number is continuously increasing. Since Data Champions volunteer their valuable time and expertise out of goodwill, a key objective of my internship was to reward and recognise their exemplary efforts by writing case articles to showcase their achievements. I conducted one-to-one interviews with individual Data Champions to learn about their research, their motivations for becoming Data Champions, and their future goals and aspirations. Following each interview, I wrote, illustrated and published an article on the ‘Data Champions’ page of the Open Working blog.
How to build a community of Data Champions?
During my internship, I developed a ‘toolkit’ to inform and inspire other institutions to build a community of Data Champions. From preparing to launch a community-based programme, to recognising an established, multidisciplinary community of Data Champions, ‘How to build a community of Data Champions: Six Steps to Success’ provides a step-by-step guide to assist with the successful implementation of a community-based model to improve RDM support.
Book sprint success!
Aside independent writing projects, I participated in a three-day book sprint alongside seven authors and editors to produce the open book, ‘Engaging researchers with research data management: The cookbook.’ To learn more about our collaborative writing experience, read my article, ‘Book sprint success: A Team Writing Exercise for the Win’,
Open Research opens doors…
Upon completion of my internship, on 23rd September I was invited to the conference, ‘Researchers Engagement: Use cases for engaging researchers with research data’, at the University of Vienna, Austria, to give a keynote talk about the use of ‘Community-based models for engaging researchers with research data.’
In October, I presented my internship achievements at the RDA 14th Plenary in Helsinki, Finland, and returned to #Scidata19 in November to share my story of how my internship has unlocked exciting career opportunities for me as an early career researcher.