Postdoctoral Fellowship: Meaningful Data Counts

We are inviting applications for a postdoctoral fellowship position at the University of Ottawa. The position brings together information science (bibliometrics), data science, and related areas. The successful applicant will be supervised by Dr. Stefanie Haustein, assistant professor at the University of Ottawa, School of Information Studies (ÉSIS) and co-director of the Scholarly Communications Lab. The postdoctoral position is funded by a research grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The postdoctoral fellow will work as part of a diverse international research team led by Dr. Haustein and Dr. Isabella Peters at ZBW – Leibniz Information Centre for Economics and University of Kiel in Germany.

Qualified applicants will have a PhD (or set defence date) in information science, sociology of science, computer science, or a related field and come with experience in quantitative social science research methods and statistics. We are seeking an individual who works well independently and as part of a diverse team, with great interpersonal skills and excellent communication in English, both written and verbal.

The ideal candidate has an interest in scholarly communication, open science, and research data sharing and has programming experience (preferably in Python) and familiarity with APIs (e.g., DataCite, Crossref) and Jupyter Notebooks. Experience in conducting surveys is advantageous. The candidate will design and conduct quantitative studies using bibliographic metadata of research data and scholarly publications in the Jupyter Notebook environment. They will also assist in survey design, implementation and analysis. They will be responsible for reviewing literature, collecting, processing, and analyzing quantitative data as well as reporting results in an open science environment and formal publications.

The position is available starting September 1, 2020 with an initial appointment for one year, renewable up to two. At the University of Ottawa, postdoctoral fellows are considered employees and receive benefits. In order to qualify, the candidate’s PhD completion date has to be within 5 years of the postdoctoral fellowship. The gross salary is set at 55,000 CAD annually.

About the project

The Meaningful Data Counts research project aims to provide empirical evidence on data usage and data citation behavior and to improve the understanding of the role that datasets play in scholarly communication. We seek to discover data sharing and citation patterns across academic disciplines and researchers’ career stages as well as underlying motivations to (not) share or cite datasets.

The project will pave the way for future bibliometric research and inform the development of data metrics in order to incentivize researchers to share, reuse, and cite datasets. It will conduct empirical research using a mixed-methods approach combining bibliometric analysis to discover data sharing and citation patterns with survey research and semi-structured interviews to explain underlying motivations and behaviors. The empirical research will be complemented by the development of a theoretical framework that helps to explain the role of data in scholarly communication. The project will generate empirical evidence on open data practices essential to the development of meaningful data metrics. In close collaboration with the Make Data Count team (see below) we will develop incentive structures to elevate the status of research datasets to first-class scholarly outputs. The findings are expected to improve data sharing policies.

The Meaningful Data Counts project is part of the larger Make Data Count (MDC) initiative, which drives adoption of the building blocks for open data metrics: standardized data usage and data citation practices at repositories and publishers. The initiative is focused on addressing the significant social as well as technical barriers to widespread development of open data metrics and is working to develop and deploy infrastructure for data-level metrics. The initiative’s goals are to produce evidence based studies on researcher behavior in citing and using data, as well as drive a community of practice around open, normalized data usage and data citation.

About the ScholCommLab

The ScholCommLab is a diverse multidisciplinary and multinational team of researchers interested in all aspects of scholarly communication. Based in Ottawa and Vancouver, Canada, the lab explores a wide range of questions using a combination of computational techniques, innovative methods, and traditional mixed methods to investigate how knowledge is produced, disseminated and used. The ScholCommLab is co-directed by Stefanie Haustein and Juan Pablo Alperin and is associated with the School of Information Studies at the University of Ottawa and the Publishing Program and the Public Knowledge Project at Simon Fraser University. The ScholCommLab values and practices open science.

About the University of Ottawa and ÉSIS

University of Ottawa is the largest bilingual (English-French) university in the world. Located at the heart of Canada’s capital, faculty and students have ready access to a variety of federal institutions. Postdoctoral fellows are considered employees and need to register with the Office of the Vice-Provost, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, which will grant them access to a testimonial of completion, conference travel grant, and professional skills-development program. For more information on postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Ottawa, please refer to the postdoc policy.

The School of Information Studies (ÉSIS) offers bilingual programs such as the Master of Information Studies and Graduate Diploma in Information Management. Graduates are prepared to take on many exciting career opportunities as librarians, information and records managers, digital curators, information architects, data analysts, library directors, metadata managers, privacy analysts, archivists, and web content managers.

Application process

Candidates can apply by emailing their application to Dr. Stefanie Haustein at with ‘MDC Postdoctoral Fellowship’ in the subject line. The application package should include a cover letter, a detailed CV including a list of publications, and contact details for three references. Applications will remain open until the position is filled.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds, including but not limited to, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, racialization, disability, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.