Johns Hopkins University, The Sheridan Libraries

Research Data Management Fellow

The Sheridan Libraries has had a long standing commitment to building both knowledge and systems to support data curation across both the humanities and scientific domains. Within the past decade the Sheridan Libraries Digital Research and Curation Center has played a significant role in managing initiatives to explore deep curation needs with Sloan Digital Sky Survey data, reviewing repository infrastructure and platforms, and leading the Data Conservancy, a community focused on the development of solutions to digital research data collection, curation, and preservation challenges.  In 2011 the JHU Data Management Services (JHUDMS) unit was launched from expertise and experience gained through the Data Conservancy in collaboration with the Entrepreneurial Library program. The JHUDMS provides research data management services and solutions for the Johns Hopkins community and has a strong track record of incremental and impactful success in growing data management support and services for the community.

Position Overview

The Sheridan Libraries is offering a CLIR Postdoctoral fellow a unique opportunity to play an integral role in the development of practices for archiving research software and code within the JHUDMS.  The fellow will work with the JHUDMS to consider the role of software and code in the research workflow and archival processes through work on specific archival projects with researchers at JHU as well conducting a broader peer review of data management programs at other institutions. The JHUDMS is interested in archiving to ensure that code can be rendered in the future (e.g., digital preservation, data reproducibility) and potentially re-used.  The fellow will identify potential differences in how software should be handled in the archival workflow as compared to other research data, determine how issues related to software licensing and ownership impact the archiving process, and in general identify broad dimensions and concerns for a software archival workflow. The fellow will provide the Sheridan Libraries with tangible outcomes in shaping standard processes and procedures, articulating and developing instructional training materials, and applying findings to existing data archiving projects.

The Sheridan Libraries is situated within a strongly research-oriented and academic environment, and the JHUDMS team welcomes working with the fellow to scope and define additional smaller projects of their own interest.


  • Survey the landscape of data curation on the existing best practices in managing software including the Olive Project at Carnegie Mellon ( and similar initiatives,
    • identifying existing strengths and gaps in the scholarly literature,
    • engaging with researchers at JHU to understand current approaches, and
    • outreach to peer institutions on existing practices;
  • Identify the key questions that need to be considered in archiving research software and code, exploring technical, financial, and operational perspectives;
  • Work collaboratively with JHUDMS team to manage and prioritize further research efforts and outcomes;
  • Participate in consultative sessions for data management planning, particularly on projects with a strong software component;
  • Analyze findings in relation to existing systems and services and recommends approaches to service enhancement, specifically recommendations for practical internal policies and procedures for archiving researcher software and code;
  • Develop best practices to guide the management of software and code for current and future archiving projects at JHU, including developing guidance on specific topics such as version management;
  • Work with the JHUDMS in archiving software and code for existing projects, seeking opportunities to pilot and apply recommended best practices to existing and future projects;
  • Design and develop training materials in the form of online resources or workshops to help researchers improve management of research software and code for sharing and archiving at the end of project;
  • Present on above efforts at national conferences or other relevant venues;
  • Pursue additional projects in year two that extend the theme of developing best practices for archiving and sharing software code, including exploring federating software collection discovery in the JHU Data archive with other data registries, such as GitHub and or participating in developing new enhancements of the JHU Data Archiving services to facilitate dataset registry, linking and federated discovery and access to data stored elsewhere at JHU.

Required Qualifications

  • Ph.D. in science or social science discipline or an LIS Ph.D. with masters in science or social science discipline;
  • Demonstrated understanding of scientific research methods;
  • Experience working with software applications during the research process and an understanding of core issues related to management of software and data during the research process;
  • A track record of contributing meaningfully within a collaborative work environment.

Desired Qualifications

  • Knowledge and experience in relevant programing languages (e.g. Java, FORTRAN), scripts (e.g. C-Shell, Python) and/or other research applications (e.g. VIVO, MATLAB, R);
  • Understanding of discipline and domain specific data management needs and practices;
  • Expertise in software licensing, ownership and related intellectual property considerations;
  • Excellent project management skills.

Professional Development

The fellow will be part of and work directly with a team of seasoned data management specialists in the Johns Hopkins University Data Management Services unit.  In addition the fellow will have opportunities to liaise with the Digital Research and Curation Center which is co-located with the JHUDMS as well as with the broader Sheridan Libraries environment.  The fellow will have support for local professional development endeavors.

Salary and Benefits

This is a full-time, 24 month, postdoctoral fellow position with an annual salary of $47,000 plus benefits.

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