Episode 1

full
Published on:

8th Feb 2023

(S3E1) Exploring open research in different disciplines with Dr Dorka Tamás

In our weekly Research Culture Uncovered conversations we are asking what is Research Culture and why does it matter? This episode is part of Season 3, hosted by Nick Sheppard who will be speaking to colleagues from both the University of Leeds and from other universities and organizations about open research, what it is, how it's practiced in different disciplines, and how it relates to research culture. In this episode Nick is joined by Dr Dorka Tamás.

Funded by Research England, Dorka has been working on a series of open research case studies here at Leeds. She was awarded her PhD from the University of Exeter in 2022, examining the presence of the supernatural in Sylvia Plath's poetry. You can connect to Dorka via LinkedIn or Twitter.

With her background in English, Dorka has learned a lot about open research through this role and how it can relate to the humanities as well as STEM disciplines. She talks about how she did not receive any training about open practices through her PhD, which she thinks would have benefitted her.

In thi episode talk about:

  • providing open research training for PhD students and PGRs
  • differing terminology and concepts across different disciplines including reproducibility, open and FAIR data, preprints and preregistration
  • her use of archives in her own research and what 'open research' might mean in the study of English
  • barriers to practicing open research that have emerged through the case studies
  • her future plans in academia including turning her PhD into a monograph

Be sure to check out the other episodes in this season!

Links:

Follow us on twitter: @ResDevLeeds, @OpenResLeeds, @ResCultureLeeds

If you would like to contribute to a podcast episode get in touch: academicdev@leeds.ac.uk

Transcript
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[00:00:25] Nick Sheppard: Hi, it's Nick, and for those who don't know me yet, I'm Open Research Advisor based in the Library here at the University of Leeds. You're joining us in season three of the Research Culture Uncovered Podcast where I'll be speaking to colleagues from both the University of Leeds and from other universities and organizations about open research, what it is, how it's practiced in different disciplines, and how it relates to research culture.

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[00:01:05] But now I'd like to introduce my guest for today, my colleague Dr. Dorka Tamas, who's been working on a series of open research case studies here at Leeds. Dorka has recently been awarded her PhD from the University of Exeter, examining the presence of the supernatural in Sylvia Plath's poetry. She's presented in several conferences and symposia and is a co-founder of the Sylvia Plath Society.

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[00:01:30] Dorka Tamas: Hi. Thank you for inviting me to talk here.

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[00:01:39] Dorka Tamas: Yes.

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[00:01:55] Dorka Tamas: Yes, I'm based in the Southwest, so it was a long train journey. I was invited by the University of York's ReproducibiliTea network team to present in their, um...it was an event on open research for early career researchers, and they saw me talking before in a similar event that Nick invited me to, to present on open access monographs. And so I ended up talking to a very different audience, similar people who are at...people who are at the similar stage as me, being early career researchers, and my presentation was focusing on open access monographs for ECRs.

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[00:02:44] Dorka Tamas: I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I think I've definitely gained a lot of knowledge of open research through this job, and, you know, it's such a vast area and it's ever changing and developing, so it's, hard to keep track of it to be honest.

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[00:03:19] Dorka Tamas: Yes, definitely. I published an open access journal article, kind of, uh, I think it was last year and it was published. So I was familiar with the concept of open access, because my university paid for a gold open access, which was very great, you know, but that was all my knowledge really of open research. Um, because I work in humanities and English, data is not something I come across or not traditional quantitative data, so all of the other aspects of open research, like the open data, open code, um, preprints was not something I had any knowledge of really, and sadly it was not even a training in my, uh, PhD education, which I think Leeds is doing well, that it's really incorporated now into, uh, PGR training.

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[00:04:37] Dorka Tamas: Yes, so I'm trying to turn my PhD thesis into a monograph, which is a slow process, but hopefully in a couple of years time you will see it. Um, yeah, and Silver Plath was an American 20th century poet, and she tragically died very young. But my work was looking at the different ways in which her poetry engages with this umbrella term supernatural, which, you know, included, um, cold War American McCarthyism, Fairy Tales, uh, including the early modern witch hunt, including also some religious imageries, including narratives from classical sources such as OVID's Metamorphosis and all other aspects, and how her poetry is using these, um...the theoretical framework of the early modern witch hunt particularly, and how her writing inform us a lot about the Cold War period and that post-war period.

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[00:06:08] Dorka Tamas: Definitely. I think something that I...you know, I never thought about my, uh, research material as data. And when I was working with archives, because I forgot to mention I was working with a lot of archival materials, especially during the pandemic, these were all digitized archives, um, that I had access from various universities, mainly from the Smith College in the US. Uh, so I did not have a good organizational system. I did not have a good research data management, um, background, and now I'm sort of suffering the consequences of that because my files are just sort of scattered with not real actual metadata, just very badly named files. So this is something I definitely would have benefited, and something that actually, um, came up recently in one of the open research case study interviews I was conducting with somebody, uh, this person mentioned that, something that he would like to see more included in PGR training is, um, helping people to understand, sort of the process of publication and also where to publish and what kind of deals the university has with publishers. Um, cos I know that lLeeds has these contracts with certain publishers, um, that you can publish open access. So that would be something I think that PhD students and me, myself as well, would have benefit.

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[00:08:22] Dorka Tamas: Yeah, sure. Um, so I started working on the open research case studies with Chris, a colleague, in May, and we sort of, um, distributed the faculties among ourselves and I was paying attent...I was conducting

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[00:08:50] Dorka Tamas: Yes, we did have a lot of faculties and we had also a couple of other topics such as I was focusing on open education, and I also did a case study with, um, the Leeds Special Collection, um, in terms of, you know, archives and digitization and accessibility. But, um, I learned a lot, especially about STEM subjects and how open research is relevant in other fields that are, you know, not at all like mine. And it was very interesting to see how certain fields are so advanced and certain practices have been, you know, part of their research culture for a very long time. They might have not called it open data or you know, open access or something, but it was something...part of the research culture, just because their work is so collaborative, and I think particularly, research or researchers that have to work together in a lab setting or work on codes together, it is essential to be transparent and open and follow, uh, certain protocols as well. But for other researchers like me, I guess, who works alone in a long research project, um, it's very, it's very different, and other parts are not too relevant like, yeah, like I mentioned open data. I don't work with other people's data. However, some people might consider the poets...the poems I worked with as, as a kind of data.

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[00:11:10] Dorka Tamas: I think she would find it very peculiar and probably would laugh about that.

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[00:11:27] Dorka Tamas: Uh, I don't know the exact number, but I think it's probably close to 60. So it's between like 50 to 60 I think.

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[00:11:51] And, uh, have you done any in English, um, for example, in your own discipline?

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[00:12:58] Nick Sheppard: Yeah, no, I did work with Bridget on, um, on, as you say, a Wikipedia article. And, uh, we, I will actually be speaking to a Wikimedian as part of this podcast series as well. So a colleague called Martin Poulter, we'll talk about Wikipedia and Wikimedia more generally in more detail later on. Um, just to...I'm just thinking back to when you said at the beginning, so you, you mentioned rReproducibiliTea, which is obviously a play on words for the reproducibility journal club. And again, there'll be, um, links in the to show notes, if people are unaware of ReproducibiliTea, but the concept of reproducibility. Reproducibility. I can't say the word now because it's sort of, uh, I'm conflating it with ReproducibiliTea, but the concept of reproducibility and how and whether research and science can be reproduced. And so again, that's not perhaps something relevant to English in the same way as the STEM subjects, I guess?

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[00:15:40] Nick Sheppard: And did you, um, discuss that with colleagues in other disciplines? I mean, what was your process for these case studies? Did you have a sort of standard process, whether you were talking to somebody in English or in Chemistry, or, or, I know you didn't do Chemistry, but you know, in terms of different disciplines, how, how did you actually approach the project?

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[00:16:59] Nick Sheppard: So maybe, so I'm just..perhaps you could describe what pre-registration is cos I'm, you know, as you say, did you encounter colleagues that hadn't heard of that term? Didn't know what that was?

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[00:17:59] Nick Sheppard: Yeah, and it's, cos again, you know, pre-registration is something that I've learned about relatively recently, and as you say, it's certainly not...it's come from psychology and I know... I've spoken to a lot of colleagues in different disciplines who can see how it would apply to their research, but I think it's got a long way to go in terms of, um, you know, application in other disciplines.

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[00:18:52] Nick Sheppard: Oh, right. So was there any resolution to that, that you were aware of?

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[00:19:05] Nick Sheppard: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So that, and again, that's exactly the point, isn't it, in terms of transparency and making that entirely transparent.

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[00:19:27] Dorka Tamas: Yes, they have been submitted for journals and they haven't been peer reviewed yet. So there are different repositories, a lot of people mentioned, uh, arXiv, um, arxiv.org which seem to be a place where people put up preprints. There are different versions of this, uh, like bioRxiv, which is specific for the field of biology. There's medRxiv specific for medical sciences.

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[00:20:14] Dorka Tamas: I talked to people who work with human data, who actually produce, um, open data sets. It obviously has to be anonymized and completely remove any, any data that can re-identify a person, but, um, if it's...so there are lots of people I talk to who deposit open data sets or use other people's open data. There are people I talked to who do not work with human participants and therefore they don't have any ethical concerns really about their data sets being open. Um, I think it is just a matter of, um, you have to do it right, which involves a lot of work and a lot of people rather bring up, um, the idea of making useful metadata so that other people can use it, and that's a long and timely process to, to do.

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[00:21:32] Dorka Tamas: Yes. Um, I think there are barriers. There are numerous barriers. One thing I guess, it's not sort of a barrier, but I think this is important to mention that there are lots of people who would...who practice open research, but they are not necessarily familiar with the terminologies. So, um, I think just getting that communication across can be challenging in itself to, to almost educate researchers in, in, this something, because I think, you know, researchers do so many things anymore....there's so many, uh, projects and, and teaching as well. So even just, um, having the right terminologies for people...cos sometimes I would approach people for interviews and they would say, "I don't do open research" and then they clearly have open access publications and all other things. So I think it's, uh, one challenge, as I said, is, is the terminology and having that communication for researchers. I think another aspect is, um, having, uh...because obviously there are, there are a lot of fundings for, uh, for example, open access, um, that is now by the UKRI. Journal articles have to be open access, which are UKRI funded and from 2024 monographs have to be also open access. But I think the question also comes in what happens with those people who do not have access to these funds, particularly, um, staff and early career researchers or other research that, um...I also talked to somebody who, who does not have really UKRI funded research. His research comes from elsewhere, the funding comes from elsewhere, so what happens with these other aspects of research because, um, if it's only one aspect that is supported really by, by money that is the UKRI funded research that can, I think, create a new sort of higher hierarchy between publications and, and researchers themselves.

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[00:23:57] Dorka Tamas: Yes, I did have a couple of, um, Interviews where I talk to external, um, participants like, um, Alex Freeman, who you will do an interview...

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[00:24:19] Dorka Tamas: Yes, I spoke to Alex and we discussed, um, Octopus as, as a new platform for, um, research dissemination. And uh, I also did another, um, external interview with someone who did, uh, an exhibition at the Cultural Institute at Leeds. So he is the head of English in the University of Huddlesfield, and because of his research interest and archives available at Leeds, he was, um...He was managing this exhibition at the Cultural Institute, which is a different form of public engagement and, and research dissemination.

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[00:25:22] Dorka Tamas: Um, I think by the time this podcast episode comes out, there will be probably a lot more available on the blog post and hopefully soon after in other resources like the University of Leeds library website.

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[00:26:02] Nick Sheppard: Yeah. Yeah. So as I say, yeah, we will be disseminating these. And we've also been liaising a little bit, haven't we, with UKRN? So they've released their own case studies recently that, again, I'll link in the show notes. Um, I haven't actually managed to have a look at them myself yet. Have you had much of a look at those case studies?

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[00:27:00] Nick Sheppard: Yeah. So yeah, as I say there, they will be linked in the show notes. And, uh, just to emphasize really that, you know, you and all the work that you and Chris have been doing here at Leeds and, and in liaison with myself and other colleagues, you know, we're just exploring aren't we really what open research means in different disciplines and really trying to communicate the benefits and the challenges in different disciplines? And that kind of thing?

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[00:27:23] Nick Sheppard: Um, so I suppose, uh, we've been talking for quite a while now. What's, what's next for you? We're hoping you'll stay with us for a little while longer, but longer term do you plan to continue working in academia? Is that your long-term goal?

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[00:28:04] I'm still, you know, participating in conferences, trying to do sort of other research as well, doing other public engagement events, participating in various reading groups, organizing conference. So, you know I'm kind of busy, but I would, um, love to continue working as well.

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[00:28:36] Dorka Tamas: Yeah I think we can definitely think about it in that way. Um, and I'm part of a reading group, um, called them...well it's a gothic literary reading group called The Haunted Shores, and we have a monthly reading group where, you know, everyone is invited to join. And we have, uh, people joining from, um, from US, Australia, some people in the UK who arenot research staff, but are sort of academic support staff like, like you or like me at the moment.

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[00:29:34] Dorka Tamas: Thank you Nick. Thank you. Bye

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About the Podcast

Research Culture Uncovered
Changing Research Culture through conversations
At the University of Leeds, we believe that all members of our research community play a crucial role in developing and promoting a positive and inclusive research culture. Across the globe, the urgent need for a better Research Culture in Higher Education is widely accepted – but how do you make it happen? This weekly podcast focuses on our ideas, approaches and learning as we contribute to the University's attempt to create a Research Culture in which everyone can thrive. Whether you undertake, lead, fund or benefit from research - these are the conversations to listen to if you want to explore what a positive Research Culture is and why it matters.

Unless specified in the episode shownotes, Research Culture Uncovered © 2023 by Research Culturosity, University of Leeds is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0. This license requires that reusers give credit to the creator. If you remix, adapt, or build upon the material, you must license the modified material under identical terms. Some episodes may be licensed under CC BY-ND 4.0, please check before use.

About your hosts

Emma Spary

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I moved into development after several years as an independent researcher and now lead the team providing professional and career development for all researchers and those supporting research. I am passionate about research culture and supporting people. I lead our Concordat implementation work and was part of the national Concordat writing group. I represent Leeds as a member of Researchers14, the N8PDRA group and UKRI’s Alternative Uses Group.

Taryn Bell

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I work as a Researcher Development Adviser at the University of Leeds. My focus is on career development, with a particular focus on supporting funding and fellowships. I previously worked at the University of York as their Fellowship Coordinator, developing and growing the University's community of early career fellows. Get in touch if you'd like to learn more (T.L.Bell@leeds.ac.uk)!

Katie Jones

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I am a Researcher Development and Culture Project Officer at the University of Leeds, where I lead projects within the Researcher Development and Culture Team. My role involves managing projects that enhance the development of researchers and foster a positive research culture across the University and the higher education sector.

Tony Bromley

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I've worked in the area of the development of researchers for 20 years, including at the national and international level. I was lead author of the UK sector researcher development impact framework charged with evaluating the over £20M per year investment of UK research councils in researcher development. I have convened the international Researcher Education and Development Scholarship (REDS) conference for a number of years and have published on researcher development evaluation and pedagogy. All the details are on www.tonybromley.com !! Also why not take a look at https://conferences.leeds.ac.uk/reds/

Ged Hall

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I've worked for almost 20 years in researcher development, careers guidance and academic skills development. For the last decade I've focused on the area of research impact. This has included organisational development projects and professional development for individual researchers and groups. I co-authored the Engaged for Impact Strategy and am heavily involved in its implementation, across the University of Leeds, to build a healthy impact culture. For 10 years after my PhD, I was a consultant in the utility sector, which included being broker between academia and my clients.

Ruth Winden

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After many years running my own careers consultancy business I made the transition to researcher development leading our careers provision. My background is in career coaching, facilitation and group-based coaching, and I have a special interest in cohort-based coaching programmes which help researchers manage their careers proactively and transition into any sector and role of their choice.

Nick Sheppard

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I have worked in scholarly communications for over 15 years, currently as Open Research Advisor at the University of Leeds. I am interested in effective dissemination of research through sustainable models of open access, including underlying data, and potential synergies with open education and Open Educational Resources (OER), particularly underlying technology, software and interoperability of systems.