Postdoctoral Fellow for Data Curation

Vanderbilt University is offering a Postdoctoral Fellow position in the Vanderbilt University Library (contingent on final funding approval). The library seeks applications from postdoctoral candidates in the social sciences for a two-year position working with faculty, graduate students, researchers, and librarians in the collaborative process of developing the library’s support for data curation services and assisting researchers with understanding and following best practices for data management and preservation. The Fellow will help to develop the library’s emerging data services program by serving as a representative of and advocate for the social scientific community.

The ideal candidate will have expertise in conducting data-driven inquiry and a desire to help scientists to enhance their data management and preservation practices. During the fellowship, the candidate will gain significant knowledge of best practices in mark-up languages, metadata standards, digital preservation, and computational analysis of datasets. The candidate will also have regular opportunities to lead workshops on topics of personal interest.

The Postdoctoral Fellow will participate in the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellowship program. The Vanderbilt/CLIR Postdoctoral Fellowship in Data Curation for the Sciences and Social Sciences provides an exciting opportunity to contribute to new initiatives at one of the nation’s highest-ranked research universities, as well as to gain skills and knowledge related to developing areas of data- driven research. Through these fellowships, CLIR seeks to raise awareness and build capacity for sound data management practice throughout the academy.


Reporting to the Director for Scholarly Communications, the Postdoctoral Fellow will collaborate with faculty, graduate students, researchers, and library staff to advance the library’s data curation strategy and to support researchers in learning best practices for digital preservation and curation. As the library positions itself to support the emerging data needs of researchers, the Fellow will play a key role in the following areas:

  • Assists with developing a state of the art program for preserving research data
    • Surveys the landscape of data curation at peer universities and keeps library staff up to date with best practices in research data management;
    • Contributes to the implementation and development of a scalable data management and archiving service for the Vanderbilt University;
    • Ensures that the Vanderbilt University Library’s data management program is compliant with NIH, NSF and other government agencies’ requirements for data preservation;
  • Provides instruction in the use of shared datasets in campus teaching and research
    • Engages faculty and researchers to gather information about the use of third- party datasets in teaching and research at Vanderbilt University ;
    • Partners with Vanderbilt University Library’s collection management staff to facilitate access to available collections by creating a data catalog and developing related metadata for datasets;
    • Educates faculty and researchers in data curation and management by providing training (both in group and one-on-one settings) in the creation of digital resources from datasets and in the practicalities of data sharing;
    • Creates and delivers training for Vanderbilt University Library’s staff related to the management and curation of research data;
  • Research and Development
    • Engages with members of faculty and graduate students across the university to assist with data-driven research, providing expertise in the analysis, curation, and preservation of research data;
    • Publishes a case study or paper in a scholarly journal on the data curation requirements of the Postdoctoral Fellows’ particular project, highlighting the intersection between research data requirements and library services;
  • Other
    • Participates in library-wide and university activities and groups as needed/assigned;
    • Participates in meetings and events of the CLIR/DLF Postdoctoral Fellows.
Required Qualifications
Ph.D. in any social science, information science, law, or related field. Applicants must have received a Ph.D. after January 1, 2011 but before beginning the fellowship.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Knowledge of and experience with statistical analysis, data mining, and tools such as RStudio, SAS and SPSS;
  • Excellent skills in project management, teaching and outreach, communication and collaboration with faculty members; and experience coordinating and promoting programs and/or services;
  • Practical understanding of the research process and research data lifecycle;
  • Willingness to embrace and advocate for new and emerging technologies;
  • Entrepreneurial attitude to developing services for researchers; self-motivated with the ability to set and attain goals effectively and the flexibility to adapt to change;
  • Ability to engage with people in new settings as well as excellent interpersonal and communication skills.


Salary is commensurate with CLIR guidelines. Benefits are those applicable to exempt employees of Vanderbilt University, including health care insurance; retirement plan options; tuition discount program; and paid vacation, holiday, and sick leave.

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