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Dr. Heidi Seibold

Feedback wanted: building a Digital Research Academy ๐Ÿ—๏ธ

Published 12 months agoย โ€ขย 4 min read

Digital skills in research are needed more than ever. Especially in growing fields like Open Science, Data Literacy, and Research Software Engineering. What if we made these skills accessible for all? What if we had a network of skilled people who can train others?

Today I want to pitch to you my idea of a Digital Research Academy and I would love to hear your thoughts!

The Digital Research Academy serves 3 major stakeholders:

  • Learners: research staff who want to learn new skills.
  • Trainers: people who can provide trainings (usually part time).
  • Organisations: Research institutions and other organisations with potential learners and/or trainers.

The goal is to provide a community where people can join to become trainers, develop new learning material and/or ask for training.

"Digital Research Academy" is the current working title as it explains quite well what it is about.

Why?

I started giving trainings on Open Science and good practices in digital research, because I wanted to play a part in improving scientific quality and rigor. I just started doing this full time, but am already booked until the end of the year. So I know there is a market that longs for training on digital research skills and I cannot do it alone. One of my top skills is networking and bringing people together, so this is what I want to do through the idea of the Digital Research Academy.

How?

How do I plan to pull it off? This is where you come in (see also highlight boxes below)! ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿค

Of course I cannot and do not want to do this alone. There's several steps that we will need to take:

  1. Gather information: get feedback on the idea, learn about existing initiatives, check out who could be potential partners, ...
  2. Prototype: find a small community of trainers who can get the ball rolling and build initial modular training material.
  3. Evaluate: how did it go so far? What do we need to change in order to make the Digital Research Academy a success?
  4. Go all in with the Digital Research Academy, pivot, or quit.

Currently I am in step 1 (gather information). I am trying to learn from existing cool initiatives like The Carpentries, Code Refinery, or FORRT.

I am talking to a lot of people about their experiences and wishes. One thing I have identified is, that trainers want to not have to do this as a hobby, but get paid. So the current idea is to implement two income streams: (1) through memberships of organisations and (2) through course fees.

Also I am looking into different networks that could offer good starting points for the idea. My most promising candidate is the Section Training & Education of the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) in Germany. There are quite many ideas in their concept paper that would fit well with my vision of the Digital Research Academy: modular training material, train-the-trainer trainings, and potentially even certificate courses.

Of course I also want to collaborate with the reproducibility networks (e.g. the German Reproducibility Network) and RSE networks (e.g. de-RSE).

Finally, I also need to think about the organisational form this could take. Should it be an association, a non-profit (in German "gGmbH" I guess), something else? I really want this to be a network from the community for the community and the right form is probably crucial. Any hints from knowledgeable people (optimally German context) here would be highly appreciated! Via email or the pad.

Please get involved and share your ideas. Either by messaging me directly or by adding your ideas to the idea pad.

All the best,

Heidi


P.S. Don't forget to submit your ideas for the de-RSE unconference. Would love to meet you there!

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Heidi Seibold, MUCBOOK Clubhouse, Elsenheimerstr. 48, Munich, 81375
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Dr. Heidi Seibold

https://heidiseibold.com

All things open and reproducible data science.

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