Post Doc Social Sciences Data Curation Specialist

Posted to IASSIST on: 2016-07-18

Employer: University of Minnesota

Employer URL:


The University of Minnesota Libraries offer a two-year post-doctoral position for a Social Sciences Data Curation Specialist.  The Specialist will provide strategic direction for the University of Minnesota Libraries in developing and sustaining new models of support for campus research related to social science data curation, with an emphasis on interdisciplinarity, collaboration on a global scale, and intensive use of technology.  The Libraries seeks an energetic, creative, and service-oriented post-doctoral fellow who will demonstrate innovative thinking and a proactive approach to supporting research and scholarship in social sciences and professional programs.   We seek an individual who will be an active participant in collaborative projects and an enthusiastic leader for programs that will shape the development and sustainability of social sciences data curation and academic library services.  This post-doctoral fellow will report to the Director of Social Sciences and Professional Programs in the Libraries’ Research and Learning Division and closely collaborate with the Research Data Services Lead.  This position will also work closely with research support specialists throughout the Libraries’ Research and Learning, Health Sciences Libraries, and Data and Technology divisions.

The Social Sciences Data Curation Specialist has a unique opportunity to build and strengthen the Libraries’ role within social sciences data curation on the University of Minnesota campus through working closely with scholars–faculty and students–and those in support units across the University, including the Liberal Arts Technologies and Innovation Services (LATIS) team, the U-Spatial Data Analyst/Curator (geospatial data), and the TerraPopulus team (an NSF DataNet project awarded to the University of Minnesota focusing on the integration of census and land use data).  While the focus of this position will be on social sciences data as a whole, opportunities related to the specific research focus for deeper scholarly engagement will be informed by the appointed fellow’s background, experience, and interest, as well as current research support and collaboration opportunities.

The University Libraries are an integral part of campus life and contribute significant resources and programs to the state, region, and broader profession.  The University Libraries provide a supportive and highly collaborative environment.  Expanded opportunities for innovation and impact emerge through the Libraries’ membership in the Association of Research Libraries, the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) Center for Library Initiatives, the Center for Research Libraries, the Digital Library Federation, and the Coalition for Networked Information. The Libraries are noted for innovative programs of process improvement, new models for research support, and deep commitment to supporting the full life cycle of knowledge.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Provide strategic leadership for the University of Minnesota Libraries in developing and sustaining support for social science data throughout its lifecycle.
  • Collect, manage, curate, provide access to and assist in the analysis of quantitative and qualitative research data related to social sciences and professional program academic departments; promote the Data Repository for the University of Minnesota (DRUM) and refer researchers to disciplinary repositories as appropriate.
  • Identify and propose research projects at the University of Minnesota involving data capture, analysis, management, and related issues that focus on social science data needs with potential for deeper scholarly engagement in specific areas related to the specialist’s background.
  • Assess, promote, and/or develop methods for data discovery, to enhance the Libraries’ delivery and discovery environment related to social sciences data.
  • Collaborate with data producers and repository contributors.  Provide consultation services for a diverse population of researchers and liaisons, to enhance their capacity to manage, preserve and conduct new research using digital data collections.
  • Design and teach workshops and classes in a range of relevant areas, including data management, research design, and data processing and analysis technologies.
  • Work with the University Digital Conservancy, Data Repository for the University of Minnesota, and the Libraries’ Data Management and Access Department on metadata creation and management.
  • Cultivate and sustain collaborative relationships with campus units and initiatives involved in data curation and development, including but not limited to: the College of Liberal Arts’ Liberal Arts Technologies and Innovation Services, Minnesota Population Center, and U-Spatial.


  • PhD in a social sciences discipline, with degree completion within five years preceding the fellowship appointment (expected between June and September, 2016).
  • Proficiency/fluency with one or more of the major statistical software package (e.g., SAS, R, SPSS, STATA) and/or qualitative technologies (e.g., NVivo, Atlas.ti) commonly encountered in data curation.
  • Excellent communication, presentation and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to work with colleagues in a collaborative and distributed service environment.
  • Demonstrated creativity, initiative, self-direction, and innovative thinking.
  • Strong service orientation.


  • Experience with data curation in his or her own research.
  • Experience with academic project planning or consultative services.
  • Experience with teaching/instruction in higher education.
  • Familiarity with sensitive research data and an understanding of best practices for de-identification.
  • Demonstrated involvement in professional activities, including presentations and publications.

Archived on: 2016-07-20