Postdoctoral Fellowship in Data Curation in the Social Sciences

Overview

Duke University is offering a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Data Curation in the Social Sciences, jointly appointed by the Duke University Libraries and Duke’s Social Science Research Institute (SSRI). Eligible candidates will have completed a doctoral program in the Social Sciences, or a related field in the past five years. This is a full-time, two-year appointment, with an annual salary of $60,000, including full benefits.

With supervision and guidance provided by Duke University Libraries and SSRI, the Postdoctoral Fellow will work closely with faculty and researchers to develop best practices for managing a wide variety of research data in the Social Sciences including administrative data, health data, survey data, and web based data among other data types.  The Fellow will evaluate tools and platforms for data management, write documentation, and aid in dissemination of best practices to the wider campus community. These activities will culminate in defining, modeling, and testing workflows and capacities necessary for sustainable curation and long-term management and re-use of these social science data materials.

The ideal candidate will have both relevant academic training and experience with content management and data infrastructure development for data-driven social science projects. During the fellowship period the Fellow will work closely with the Duke University Libraries and the discipline-matched faculty and researchers at SSRI to gain significant knowledge of best practices in data curation policy, dealing with sensitive data, and digital repository structures and workflows. The Fellow will be expected to continue to develop his or her ongoing research within a field of study compatible with the faculty/researcher partnership. The Fellow will also participate in the activities sponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellowship program.

The CLIR/Duke University Postdoctoral Fellowship in Data Curation for the Sciences and Social Sciences provides an exciting opportunity to contribute to new initiatives at one of the nation’s highest-ranked research universities, as well as to gain skills and knowledge related to emerging, innovative areas of data-driven research and scholarly communications. Through these fellowships, CLIR seeks to raise awareness and build capacity for sound data management practice throughout the academy.  Opportunities to lead, engage, or collaborate in workshops, seminars, presentations, and publications will be strongly encouraged and supported.

Roles & Responsibilities

Reporting to the Head of Data and Visualization Services and the Associate Director for Education and Training at SSRI, the Postdoctoral Fellow will collaborate with faculty, students, library and research staff, and technologists to advance Duke’s data curation strategy for research data collections and to support researchers in learning and applying best practices for digital preservation and curation. The Fellow will serve as a liaison to students and faculty, particularly (though not exclusively) research teams/projects within Duke’s Social Science Research Institute, in order to gain hands-on experience working with researchers across the data lifecycle from project creation to curation. The Fellow will partner with Libraries staff and technologists to translate these requirements into a sustainable approach to curating social science research data and to help train graduate students and faculty in data curation. Through this research activity, the Fellow will play a key role in developing a model for research data curation that will be of immediate benefit to researchers in the social sciences and will contribute significantly to enhancing Duke’s services and programs in support of data-driven research and digital scholarship.

Specific areas of responsibility for the Postdoctoral Fellow and related tasks include :

  •  Help to develop a sustainable program for social science research data curation
  • Explore and assess research data curation at peer universities and present a memorandum on best practices in research data management to staff at the Libraries and SSRI as well as other Duke administrators and researchers engaged in research data management
  • Survey the landscape of research curation at Duke and participate in campus policy discussions to determine current practice, including formats used and requirements for access and reuse
  • Research, design, and pilot the creation of a data curation program built upon sustainable workflows for organization, access, and preservation of a range of different research data types.   This curation program will have a particular focus on the needs of managing sensitive and restricted grant funded data and how researchers can share these types of data in meaningful ways that honor data privacy agreements, but contribute to the scholarly record and facilitate review and replication.
  • Analyze the pilot data curation program; make recommendations for alterations, sustainability, and lessons learned; and publish or present the outcomes both locally (to Duke stakeholders) and nationally
  • Provide researchers with instruction and guidance in social science data curation
  • Recommend best practices for data management for researchers in the social sciences with the goal of creating templates for management strategies in the following areas of research practice:
    • Designing workflows for research projects in the social sciences that include describing and organizing research data for sharing and preservation
    • Recommending systems that facilitate data management from project proposal to sharing and curation
    • Consulting with researchers on effective strategies for collaborative data work that ensures research data sharing and documentation.
    • Create and deliver training related to the policy, management, and curation of research data.

Qualifications

Required:

  • Ph.D. completed within the last five years in the Social Sciences or a related field
  • Practical understanding of the research process and research data lifecycle
  • Experience or familiarity with using social science and/or science research data as part of teaching or research
  • Demonstrated statistical and/or programming language skills (such as SAS, stata, R, python, or other data management/analytics languages)
  • Strong organizational and documentation skills
  • Ability to engage with people in new settings as well as excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Willingness to participate in teaching and training initiatives related to the fellowship or area of research

 Desired:

  • Demonstrable record of data-driven research
  • Excellent skills in project management, workflow design and management, teaching and outreach, communication and collaboration with faculty members
  • Education or experience in Information Sciences or related field
  • Experience designing and implementing data models and/or databases for scholarly projects
  • Experience coordinating and promoting programs and/or services
  • Working knowledge of various content management systems
  • Working knowledge of technical implementation of servers, software systems, etc. for the purposes of database setup and delivery
  • Working knowledge of web tools, API links etc. for processing/managing online data

Compensation

Salary is $60,000 per annum for a two-year appointment in the Libraries. Additional funding is available for conference travel and relocation expenses. Through the CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, the incumbent will also receive generous support for travel to CLIR-sponsored events for Fellows. Duke offers a comprehensive benefit package which includes both traditional benefits such as health insurance, leave time and retirement, as well as wide ranging work/life and cultural benefits. Details can be found at:  http://www.hr.duke.edu/benefits/index.php

Local Guidance and Professional Development Support

The Fellow’s supervisor will be Joel Herndon, who serves as Head of the Libraries Data and Visualization Services Department. The Fellow will also interact with staff in several Libraries departments, including Repository Services, and ITS Enterprise Services, and Digital Projects. Regular, direct work based on the area of research is expected to be with the staff of SSRI and will provide exposure to research teams in Duke’s Social Science Research Institute both on new and existing data-driven projects. The Fellow will also be mentored by Alexandra Cooper, Associate Director of Education and Training and Lorrie Schmid, Research Data Scientist who will also provide valuable insight into workflows and best practices for data curation and archiving.  The professional staff who direct SSRI’s Protected Research Data Network and the Office of Research Computing will also provide additional guidance in development of best practices and a sustainable research data curation strategy.