Devan Donaldson, an assistant professor of information science at the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, has been honored with the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program award for his project “Bridging the Gap between Scientists, Institutional Repositories and Data Management Practices.”
The LB21 program, which is part of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and is an Early Career Development award, supports professional development, graduate education, and continuing education to help libraries and archives develop a diverse workforce of librarians to better meet the changing learning and information needs of the American public. Donaldson is one of only three professors in the United States to earn an IMLS Early Career Development Award this year.
“This means everything to me,” said Donaldson, whose award was worth more than $330,000. “This is an extremely competitive award, and I’m just so honored to have my work recognized in such a way. The timing is perfect for me based on where I am in my career, and it sets in motion my research trajectory for the next few years.”
Donaldson’s project will investigate how institutional repositories (IRs), data management plans, and librarian expertise support the sharing and preservation of research data. The research will expand knowledge about scientists’ data needs and practices in domains where attitudes toward data sharing are currently evolving and shifting. The investigation will inform best practices for librarians who decide which data repositories to recommend to researchers, what features to add to IRs, when to use IRs for handling research data, and when alternative data repositories are more appropriate.
“I hope to learn about what features scientists think are necessary to include in data repository systems and services to help them implement the data sharing and preservation parts of their Data Management Plans (DMPs),” Donaldson said. “Related to these issues, I also hope to learn how institutional, domain, domain-agnostic, and commercial data repositories compare in providing these features. Overall, I hope that this study will provide decision support tools for librarians that can help them advise scientists about which data repositories they should use to effectively store, preserve, and share their data.”
Donaldson’s work will include focus groups, interviews, surveys, direct observation, and case studies with scientists across multiple domains, including atmospheric science, chemistry, computer science, ecology, and neuroscience.
“Devan’s work is of critical importance for ensuring that academic research will have a lasting impact on society while maximizing scarce research dollars,” said Kay Connelly, the associate dean for research at SICE. “We at SICE are thrilled he has been honored with such a competitive award.”