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The cultivation of scientific data specialists: Development of LIS education oriented to e-science service requirements

Li Si (School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Xiaozhe Zhuang (School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Wenming Xing (School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Weining Guo (School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)

Library Hi Tech

ISSN: 0737-8831

Article publication date: 18 November 2013

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Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to summarize the employers' requirements of scientific data specialists and the status quo of LIS education organizations' training system for scientific data specialists. It also focuses on the matching analysis between the course content and the responsibilities as well as requirements of scientific data specialists. Moreover, in order to provide some indications for LIS education of scientific data specialists in China, it presents the training objectives and modes.

Design/methodology/approach

Some job portals for librarians and the comprehensive job portals are investigated as information sources and the keywords such as “scientific data management”, “data service”, “data curation”, “e-Science”, “e-Research”, “data specialist” are selected to retrieval library-released job advertisements for scientific data specialists to understand the library's requirements towards scientific data specialists' core capabilities. Meanwhile the course catalogues of all iSchools' web sites are searched directly in order to find if scientific data courses are provided.

Findings

Libraries value teamwork ability, communication ability, interpersonal ability and a good use of data curation tools as the core competences for scientific data specialists. Candidates who possess a second advanced degree, who understand libraries, who hold demonstrated knowledge of metadata standards, and who emphasize details, under the same condition, are more likely to be considered first. Libraries do not have a unified title for scientific data specialists yet. The current curriculums of iSchools mainly cover research method, data science, data management and data service, data statistic and analysis, data warehouse, information studies and technologies, and so on.

Originality/value

This unique study explores some required qualifications of science data specialist surveyed by job openings, including the core skills, position requirements, responsibilities of the job, and some qualifications. It also investigates the related curriculum setting of iSchool universities through course descriptions. This study is very useful for curriculum development in Chinese LIS education of scientific data specialists including required core courses and selected electives, and to promote the practice of data service in Chinese academic libraries.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This paper is supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities and by the 2012 Emerald Chinese LIS Research Fund Award, and is one of the research results of a Humanities and Social Sciences Project supported by the Ministry of Education of P.R. China (Project Name: Study on the Guarantee of Scientific Data Integration and Sharing in China, Project No. 13YJA870016).

Citation

Si, L., Zhuang, X., Xing, W. and Guo, W. (2013), "The cultivation of scientific data specialists: Development of LIS education oriented to e-science service requirements", Library Hi Tech, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 700-724. https://doi.org/10.1108/LHT-06-2013-0070

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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