Learning Skills and Scheduling Meetings: The Humble Beginnings of a Digital Stewardship Residency

Megan Potterbusch

As covered in a previous article, a little over a month ago I began my one-year National Digital Stewardship Residency with the Association of Research Libraries, George Washington University, and the Center for Open Science. My goal for this residency is to develop a replicable process for embedding data management into the scholarly workflow using open source tools and infrastructure, including the Open Science Framework and SHARE. Not surprisingly, this initial quarter’s themes are “skill building” and “relationship development.”

The Open Science Framework (OSF) is a free, open source platform created by the Center for Open Science that enables researchers to easily manage and share their files and connect with services like Dropbox, figshare, and GitHub. When learning to use the OSF, the recorded webinars “OSF 101,” “OSF Deep Dive,” and “OSF in the Classroom” started me off well, but nothing can replace the value of playing around with the tool itself. Nervous about creating something lasting but without intrinsic value, I had avoided creating test projects before starting my residency program. To anyone else feeling this way—curious to start but wanting more information—I would recommend spending time perusing the OSF Guides, which contain valuable, quick-reference information. From there creating a project based on your own work becomes easy. Additionally, I have since learned that all projects created in the OSF are private by default, so no one will see your work unless you choose to make the project—in whole or in part—public.

As I speak with researchers and librarians, I am struck both by the versatile ways the OSF can be incorporated into established scholarly workflows and how SHARE complements this work by collecting and disseminating descriptions of the specific research objects that make up those workflows. In particular, when I discuss atypical research objects, such as software or interactive visualizations, it is helpful to know that these can be linked to during the research process—through the use of the OSF—and made discoverable as resources for others through SHARE. In order to understand and document use of the OSF, I hope to work with researchers in a variety of disciplines, from humanities and STEM fields as well as interdisciplinary scholars. Stay tuned for additional updates along the way.