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HASTAC seeking Postdoctoral Scholar for NSF EAGER Social Network Data Grant

HASTAC is currently seeking a Postdoctoral Scholar to carry out social network data analysis  for a newly awarded $294,000 NSF EAGER project "Assessing the Impact of Technology-Aided Participation and Mentoring on Transformative Interdisciplinary Research:  A Data-Based Study of the Incentives and Success of an Exemplar Academic Network.”  Through a large-scale analysis of  the HASTAC social network, the Postdoc will investigate the interplay of cyberinfrastructure and scholarly communication, combining cutting-edge data mining methods with thoughtful human and institutional questions to examine how virtual interdisciplinary connections and mentoring can promote new modes of research, learning, teaching, and career development. Computational analysis, data extraction, and social networking analysis will be used to examine six years’ worth of data from the HASTAC website, which is built on the Drupal platform.  The full call, as well as the abstract and a link to the full proposal, is posted below. Interested parties should submit their materials by Friday, November 16, 2012.

OPEN POSTDOCTORAL POSITION

NSF OCI-1243622  
Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER), Division of Cyberinfrastructure, National Science Foundation

Title:   “Assessing the Impact of Technology-Aided Participation and Mentoring on Transformative Interdisciplinary Research:  A Data-Based Study of the Incentives and Success of an Exemplar Academic Network”

Skills:  Demonstrated experience with mathematical and visual social network analysis, quantitative and qualitative methods (including case study and ethnographic) for mapping collaborative networks, citation networks, professional networks, mentoring relationships, structural cohesion and integration within and across disciplines and institutions. Candidate must be able to participate in and generate dialogue with faculty and students about these issues and then test hypotheses using HASTAC’s data or gathering new data (survey, interviews, case study, ethnography).  

Organizational assignment:  The postdoctoral fellow will work in the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge at Duke University or possibly in the Information Futures Project Space (under construction) and will be part of a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary Technology-Aided Participation Advisory Board.   The fellow will be expected to maintain a virtual presence on the HASTAC site, reporting on preliminary findings, posting white papers for peer-to-peer feedback from the HASTAC community, and working within HASTAC’s network structure to generate new ideas, problems, and questions to be addressed.  

Position availability:   Start date December 2012, or earliest availability; residency at Duke University highly desirable.  In an exceptional case, fellow may reside virtually, with a telepresence accessible during business hours and a monthly residence (week long) for site-specific meetings, collaborations, and events.

Outcomes:  In addition to working with the HASTAC team to produce a number of local and webcast events (seminars, webinars, conferences), the postdoctoral fellow will be expected to maintain a virtual presence on the www.hastac.org site, reporting on preliminary findings, posting white papers for peer-to-peer feedback from the HASTAC community, and working within HASTAC’s network structure to generate new ideas, problems, and questions to be addressed.  The fellow will also be expected to present papers at scholarly conferences and to submit final work to refereed journals in social science, science studies, and other relevant fields.  

Type of contract: 6 month to 1 year (with renewable second year possible based on performance)

Salary:  $48,000-55,000 annually, prorated for months worked and commensurate with experience

Application deadline:  5pm EST, Friday, November 16, 2012 

To apply:  Please submit your letter of interest and CV to Mandy Dailey, Director of Administration, HASTAC and Temporary EAGER Program Manager at mandy.dailey@duke.edu by 5pm EST, Friday, November 16, 2012.


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ABSTRACT

“Assessing the Impact of Technology-Aided Participation and Mentoring on Transformative Interdisciplinary Research:  A Data-Based Study of the Incentives and Success of an Exemplar Academic Network” uses computational analysis, data extraction, and social network analysis to embark on the first large-scale study of the interplay of cyberinfrastructure and scholarly communication in an academic peer-produced network.  The exemplar virtual institution studied is the Humanities, Arts, Sciences and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HASTAC or “haystack”), a network of over 9000 educators dedicated to innovative, technology-aided forms of collaborative research and teaching.  Formed in 2002, HASTAC, now headquartered at Duke University in the Ph.D. Lab in Digital Knowledge, is currently adding 200-300 new members a month.  The study mobilizes six years of the extensive HASTAC data pool, including the 176MB MySQL database of individual and institutional member profiles, for social network analysis, data extraction, text and content analysis, and procedural and organizational analysis.  It provides critically needed evidence for the current and future capacities of institutions to support the interdisciplinary collaborations essential to meet the Grand Challenges (such as energy, water sustainability, or human sciences and policy design) confronting the world, especially those requiring collaboration among scientists working with humanists and social scientists trained to confront the societal and cultural factors that deter the implementation of scientific and technological solutions.
 
Given the unique interdisciplinary nature of HASTAC as a virtual organization and the fact that this is a first, exploratory study of its extensive, accessible, anonymized “clean” individual and institutional data (in a Drupal database), this is a transformative, high-impact early-stage study for which EAGER was designed.  Because one focus of the study is the 522 current students and recent alumni (80% graduate, 20% undergraduate) in 63 disciplines and departments on small scholarships from over 120 supporting institutions, the study will also test the hypothesis that networked interdisciplinary young scholars “outcompete” more traditional peers, another first commensurate with the EAGER mission of transformative knowledge with the potential for maximum impact.

The intellectual merits of the project include modeling a method by which cyberfrastructure can enable successful collaborative research adaptable to other problem-based research centers and scalable to other projects, such as NSF-funded Science of Learning Centers (SLC); determining the best incentives for risk-taking early career interdisciplinary research; and calculating how voluntary, scholarly network and virtual mentoring support and promote early-stage researchers in both scholarly innovation and high-prestige academic achievement.
      
The broader impact of the study is in addressing one of the most urgent structural problems in higher education and one on which there is little quantitative, data-based research: how to incentivize and support the range of cross-disciplinary researchers who must work together successfully in order to solve society’s biggest problems.  At its broadest, it is anticipated that the study will intervene in current theories of organizational behavior, social media protocols, disciplinary and interdisciplinary formation, and self-governing systems, and lay the groundwork for increased collaborations dedicated to tackling the major problems and Grand Challenges of the 21st century.


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