Data Fluency: Building data skills in a sustainable way
This paper was presented at the Australian eResearch Skilled Workforce Summit on July 30, 2019
Researchers in all disciplines are creating, navigating, analysing and visualising increasingly diverse and large data sets, and are seeking to up-skill in new tools and methods to help manipulate their data. However, training and support networks in the use of these tools have not always been available at scale. Skill development programs that target a diverse research community across both HASS and STEM offer significant opportunities for Graduate Researchers and ECRs to network, share experiences and learn collaboratively. However, they present a number of administrative and organisational challenges.
Monash University’s Data Fluency program is a multidisciplinary collaboration led by the University Library in collaboration with the Bioinformatics Platform and eResearch, directly addressing the University's AI and Data Science focus. The program is responsible for the provision of a range of workshops that focus on developing researchers’ skills in using, exploring, interpreting and visualising data in a meaningful way and in effectively communicating research and ideas. Alongside the workshops, the program aims to build community and continue to develop skills through opportunities to engage in informal 1:1 drop-ins, seminars and networking opportunities. The workshops and drop-ins work hand in hand to provide the necessary training and continual support while learning new tools and solving problems; as well as learning through teaching and sharing expertise once the skills move beyond a foundational level. Graduate Research students, professional staff and ECRs learn from each other and share their knowledge and approaches across disciplinary areas.
This paper discusses the origins of the program, its current operating model, and some suggested ways that it could interact with the sector more broadly.