"The main reason we do not routinely share data is that, until recently, we could not." - Maryann E. Martone(1)
As a data supporter, you will assist researchers/research groups in storing, managing, archiving and sharing data. Depending on the stage of the research, several questions will pop up, such as:
- I have some old tapes in a drawer and would like to digitise and archive them. Can you help me?
- We want to make it easier to share our research data with other research groups. Are there solutions for that?
- Can you help me write a data management plan?
- Can you get me access to externally gathered data sets?
There are quite a few surveys that show(2) what researchers actually want to do with their data and what kind of data support they appreciate. For example, researchers are fine with sharing their data, but first they want to exploit their data themselves. They are worried about intellectual property/privacy, and are not yet properly compensated for it. If you click here, you’ll see a table with conditions that researchers state for sharing their data. The table is the result of a study among researchers and is taken from the article 'If we share data, will anyone use them'.(3) The situation in your field can be slightly different, but this will offer an impression of what goes on in the community.
As a data supporter you will find out what the client needs and you know how to settle unrest. At the same time, you will keep an eye on the big picture. The video below shows a clip with many of the most common worries regarding the sharing of data. The clip is based on a blog post by Carly Strasser.(4)
RDNL video on answers to possible worries researchers may have about sharing their data;
select HD quality for the best viewing experience.
Case plain language
In the below case you’ll read how Maarten van Bentum connects to the need for data support in the Water Engineering and Management research group of the University of Twente.
An in-depth view
Conversation skills are of great importance for the success of data support. In this course, we will only briefly touch upon the subject. Would you like to know more? Follow an additional training on this subject or browse the following books.
- Nathans, H. (2011). Adviseren als tweede beroep (3e druk). Kluwer.
Professional expertise doesn’t suffice for success within an organisation. The job of adviser requires completely different skills. Hannah Nathans exemplifies which factors can play a hampering or stimulating role during counselling conversations. (Dutch)
- Goethem, P. van (2012). IJs verkopen aan eskimo's (8e druk). Business Contact.
In this book, Pacelle van Goethem states that your influence depends on the emotions you evoke and the level of involvement: how important is this subject to the client? (Dutch)
- Patterson, K. ea. (2010). Crucial Conversations. Uitgeverij Boekwerk.
Kerry Patterson shows how to create a safe atmosphere in which virtually everything can be discussed.
Sources and additional reading
Have you ever experienced situations in which you could connect to the researchers’ or research group’s questions? Do you have anything to add? Let us know in the comments.