Participants in the Wintersession Workshop

Advancing science: Princeton graduate students learn how to manage research data in workshop with campus experts

Princeton University held its 2nd annual research data management workshop for graduate students from Jan. 27 to 29. Some 40 graduate students attended lectures and breakout sessions on topics such as creating data management plans, preserving and sharing data, analysis tools, and open research practices, as well as legal and ethical considerations of data management.

The program was organized by the Princeton Research Data Service (PRDS), the Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering (PICSciE), and OIT Research Computing. Co-sponsors included the Center for Digital Humanities, the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning, the Data-Driven Social Science Initiative, the Graduate SchoolOffice of the Dean for Research, and Princeton University Library (PUL). 

Wind Cowles, PRDS director, worked closely with Ma. Florevel (Floe) Fusin-Wischusen, institute manager at PICSciE, and 34 campus experts to develop the workshop’s curriculum reflecting the research data life cycle: planning, acquisition, and sharing results. After reviewing feedback from the first workshop in 2019, organizers condensed the program from five to three days and introduced discipline-specific breakout sessions.

In her introduction, Cowles told graduate students that beyond publishing research findings, “data are also a result of your work and are just as, if not more important.” Researchers can increase their impact by making data available to colleagues, she said. “The goal of research, ultimately, is to share what we learn with others.”

According to Curt Hillegas, associate chief information officer for Research Computing, OIT and PICSciE, data are growing at an exponential rate and researchers need to understand how to manage it.