Changing Workflows

Changing Workflows

Originally written for LIS 341 "Introduction to Managing Research Data."


Dorothea Salo

August 17, 2015


  1. Changing workflows Dorothea Salo Tuesday, June 12, 12

  2. “Project management is all very well, Dorothea, but my colleagues

    will never go along with it!” Okay. Let’s talk about that. Tuesday, June 12, 12
  3. Truths •Especially as a grad student, you don’t have much

    power to drive change. •Your PI may know little or nothing more about data management than you do. •There’s research on this! •Nobody likes change. Everybody’s used to the way they do things. •This is new. And new things are hard. Tuesday, June 12, 12
  4. Sound off! •What project-management technique do you think your colleagues

    (or classmates, or lab mates) would like? •What would they not want to do? Tuesday, June 12, 12
  5. Mindset •You can’t change everything at once. Don’t try. •You

    CAN control your own practices, at least to some extent. Use good ones, even if no one around you is. •And you can be a model for others. •Alternately, be Socrates. •“Why do we do this this way?” •“Is it okay if I do this this other way?” Tuesday, June 12, 12
  6. Opportunities •S/he who controls TRAINING and DOCUMENTATION controls the world!

    •They’re not fun chores, but they’re influential ones. •Given the turnover in many research contexts, this may be the fastest way to create change. •Don’t ask whether you can do documentation. Just do it! •A big change? A main chance! •E.g. new PI, big new project, moving to e-lab notebooks... •While everybody’s discombobulated, bring up ways to improve practices. Then follow up by documenting them. Tuesday, June 12, 12
  7. Supporting materials •Hunt for a best-practice article in your discipline

    or an allied discipline. •If you’re having trouble, call your liaison librarian. •See if you can find a blogger in your discipline who talks about good practice. •See if you can find horror stories! Tuesday, June 12, 12
  8. Documentation •If you have a lab wiki or intranet, that’s

    the place for documentation. •If not, a folder on a shared server will do. •If not... where does lab or project information usually live? Put yours there. •If you’re the first to document anything (it happens!), take your pick... •... but make sure you pick something that as many of your colleagues as possible are comfortable consulting and editing. Tuesday, June 12, 12
  9. Good luck. No lie, this is hard. You can’t fix

    everything, but you CAN improve some things. Tuesday, June 12, 12
  10. Sound off! •What’s one thing you now plan to do

    to improve your data workflow? Tuesday, June 12, 12