RCD Professionalization

People across a range of roles support research computing and data (RCD) services; the community of people in these roles is evolving into  a distinct profession, and is widely understood to be an integral part of scholarly research. The RCD Professionalization* working group is supporting this evolution of thought through a series of targeted initiatives. Our vision is to develop and disseminate frameworks, models, and approaches that can be used by institutional leaders in Human Resources, Information Technology, Research, and Teaching & Learning, as well as by practitioners, to support and elevate RCD roles as distinct and highly-valued career paths. 

Working group activities are focused on guiding conversations between Human Resources leadership and RCD leadership to effectively attract, retain, diversify, and develop the professional staff who provide RCD services. This includes broadly communicating and boosting awareness of the value of RCD careers. 

Much of this work (and that of a number of other activities) is structured around the concept of facings; here is some background on the Five Facings.

There are two threads of activity:

  1. Development of  HR resources that support RCD Professionals.  This includes:
    1. HR Job Family Matrix specifically for RCD Professionals that can be used by a range of institutions to properly classify RCD Professional roles (click here to get access).  More information about the creation of this product can be found here.
    2. RCD Professionals Census that surveys the number and types of roles and the salary grades associated with each of the four Job Series that will allow for better equity across institutions and longitudinal understanding of the RCD Profession.  This activity grew out of the Job Family Matrix work above and has the goal of creating this census survey in Summer and Fall 2020 to disseminate in 2021.

  2. Work to describe Career Arcs, i.e., paths that staff can take to enter into the RCD roles; paths that staff can pursue within and across the roles (as their career advances), and paths into other roles that professionals can pursue should they so choose. The goal of this work is to give people a broader understanding of what RCD Professional roles can mean for them.

    The Career Arcs activity began with discussions at the 2018 CI Professionalization workshop, and is being taken up by the working group in Winter 2021 with the goal of producing a set of resources over the course of 2021. A
    project plan for this work is available for review, and background notes have been gathered hereA kickoff meeting to get this moving is happening in early February. If you are interested in this work, email the WG chairs to get involved.

Work products to date:

Get involved!

We welcome your participation to advance this work. Whether you want to help draft these resources, are willing to be a reviewer, or just want to listen in and make the occasional comment, please join us. Email either of the chairs.

RCD Professionalization co-chairs: Patrick Schmitz (Semper Cogito), Scott Yockel (Harvard University).

* We adopt this definition: Professionalization can be seen as having two strands. For us, one strand is concerned with the improvement of status in the academic research community. The other strand is concerned with the improvement of the capacity of members to enhance the quality of service which is provided. Cf. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/social-sciences/professionalization 

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