Dr Deborah Thorpe - University College Cork

In this series of short posts we have asked colleagues and peers for their three top tips for effective data management and stewardship. Overtime we hope to build a collection of advice from across the research data ecosystem from data stewards, IT professionals, researchers and all those working with data. Here we share some words of advice from Dr.  Deborah Thorpe, Research Data Steward, University College Cork Library based on her years of experience as an arts and humanities researcher turned data steward.

Number 1.

Have a collaborative outlook. I’ve always tried to work collaboratively, which started when I was a humanities researcher and enjoyed collaborating with other researchers in the sciences. Working with others in designing training; answering tough questions; and writing materials can be challenging, enjoyable and productive. 

Number 2.

Be honest about what you don’t know. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice, and to express intellectual honesty when something is not your area of expertise. Nobody is an expert in everything, and by talking issues through with others everyone can have an opportunity to learn and think differently. 

Number 3.

Don’t be afraid to have a strong voice, whilst listening to the perspectives of others. Research data stewards sit in an interesting position; we are professionals who work in partnership with researchers but we also usually have PhDs; have strong research skills; and have specialist interests of our own.  

 Therefore, we should be confident in expressing our opinions based on our expertise and knowledge, especially when it comes for advocating for open research and other important practices. However, we need to do this with awareness of the perspectives of academic researchers, who are impacted by precarity; heavy workloads; and the pressure to chase prestige in order to be rewarded (or indeed to continue to be employed). 

If you find our 3 tips from the experts series useful or would like to submit your own tips please do get in contact via our membership page. 

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