selfish reasons to promote rdm for scientists

By Julien Colomb | August 29, 2018

original at

Summary: long term benefits on getting grants, collaborators, visibility and a different (interesting) profile on the job market.

It is pretty difficult to show tangible benefits.

But I’m noticing more and more now that being a data champion is not a distraction; it’s an important facet of my profile that has helped my academic career in many ways:

  • Grant success: My project “Fostering Transparency in Government Institutions and Higher Education” has received funding from the British Academy. My collaborator in Brazil, Dalson Figueiredo, and I plan to foster transparency in Brazilian government institutions and in scholarly research. Brazil’s government lacks transparency in the dissemination of administrative data, particularly on corruption; and similarly, the majority of Brazilian social scientists do not provide access to their data. With a paper project on corruption (and new data that we will share), and transparency workshops for researchers and civil servants, we hope to change that. And we got the funding for it.

  • Finding collaboration partners: When talking about reproducibility and data challenges, I often use my own research as an example. Many times I’ve been approached by researchers to collaborate on grants and articles surrounding my research topics – not just reproducibility promotion. For example, my Brazilian collaborator initially emailed me because of my work on transparency. We noticed that we have more common interests and we now work on corruption.

  • More visibility: Writing and talking about reproducibility has resulted in many invitations to conference panels, workshops, summer schools and meetings. Sitting at an APSA, ISA or Royal Society conference panel to discuss reproducibility helps me to keep a visible profile. I also spent two months in Berkeley as a visiting scholar (enjoying the California sun in February and March when it was pretty grim in the UK).

  • Job market: When I was on the job market for lectureships in the UK, I used my data transparency engagement as a selling point. Innovative teaching? I created the Replication Workshop at Cambridge, learning how to teach statistics and new methods based on published work rather than textbooks. Methods skills? I have replicated many studies across the social sciences using all kinds of methods. Feedback (also for jobs I didn’t get) was that this was quite unique and that my profile stood out. My current position at the University of Nottingham as “Assistant Professor in International Relations (with Quantitative Methods)” – yes, that’s my official post title – was the perfect fit and being a data promoter has certainly helped me to secure it.

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Collected by Julien Colomb, data manager from:

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