In our newest Librarian Spotlight, Linda Hasman, shares her reproducibility initiatives with any librarian ready to make an impact on the next generation of scientists. See what her plans can do for your patrons!
Linda Hasman is leading the University of Rochester Medical Center community to increased reproducibility with focused education, data management best practices, and easy access to resources. For this work, she recently earned JoVE’s Librarian Travel Award and attended the MLA’17 conference.
We sat down with Linda to learn about the success of her reproducibility initiatives and find out what advice she has for other medical librarians beginning to get involved in the reproducibility crisis.
Why do you think librarians are uniquely positioned to help raise awareness about the scientific reproducibility crisis?
Librarians can play an important role to help mitigate the reproducibility crisis. We have first-hand knowledge of the tools that can be used by scientists, such a protocol resources in our collection and we how to find them. Another aspect key to increasing reproducibility is documenting the steps our students and faculty use in their scientific process and keeping that process open. What librarians specifically bring to the table is a long history in the principles of openness. As a professional culture, our instinct is to share and provide information. I think, also, as a profession we can help with data management and organization. We can help researchers with file maintenance and organization. Lastly, we can help scientists find appropriate repositories for their data.
Why did you decide to get personally involved in addressing the reproducibility crisis?
I came by this by chance, actually. I was preparing lesson plans for a graduate level course called Mastering Scientific Information. I knew that I wanted to include a session on protocols. It was then that I began to learn about the reproducibility crisis and thinking about ways that I could make an impact. It occurred to me that we really need to start with the students while they’re first engaging in their programs, even before they’re working in labs.
Could you summarize your reproducibility initiatives in a couple sentences?
We’ve taken a multi-pronged approach. We talk about reproducibility when we teach Mastering Scientific Information the graduate students. Our hope is to teach them these concepts early in their careers and they will carry them forward. We have created a libguide to keep all of our protocols and methods in one place. Lastly, we have a data management libguide that researchers can refer to for concepts such as file maintenance, naming conventions and data repositories.
What has been the reaction from your peers and institution to your project?
I think they were surprised that there is a reproducibility crisis! When we first introduced this concept, they were a little taken aback. This wasn’t something they were aware of, so I think that education and knowledge was a great first step.
How has your message resonated with your patrons and other relevant audiences?
People have been very receptive, especially our primary audience of graduate students. When I posted our first data management class in our internal newsletter I kept the class size at 20 people and it was filled in half a day. We had to initiate a waitlist and find a bigger room!
What role do you see JoVE playing in helping solve the scientific reproducibility crisis?
JoVE can play a role by continuing to create high-quality visualized experiments. I think that video publishing has tremendous potential to decrease the reproducibility crisis, and that just goes back to basic learning styles. Is it easier to watch something, or is it easier to read something? I think the potential is almost limitless!
What message would you have for other librarians that might be interested in following your lead in raising awareness on research reproducibility?
My message is that there is a place for librarians to stake a claim reproducibility crisis. Librarians can act as agents of change by doing even the smallest things, like creating Libguides to curate tools and resources. For librarians who are just beginning to learn about the reproducibility crisis, I say just do it. Be fearless.
Working to advance research reproducibility at your institution? Apply for our Librarian Travel Award for your chance to attend the Charleston Conference in November 2017. Deadline for submissions is August 18, 2017.