Spotlight on: Esther Plomp

Every other week, the Thematic DCCs and the Data Steward Interest Group (DSIG) put the spotlight on one research data steward working in the Netherlands, to stimulate knowledge exchange and peer-to-peer learning.

What drew you towards the research data management field?

When I started applying for positions after my PhD research I was initially not interested in becoming a Data Steward. I applied for positions more directly related to Open Science, as I was increasingly convinced by my PhD research that working more openly would be the way to improve the way that research is done. I ended up applying for a Data Steward position anyway because the team at TU Delft were very welcoming and inspiring, in particular Marta Teperek and Yasemin Turkyilmaz-van der Velden. Over the course of the past five years, I have managed to increasingly incorporate Open Science aspects into the position – so I ended up applying for my dream position anyway!

What is an activity/task of your role that you find yourself looking forward to?

One of my favourite parts of my job is advising or teaching PhD candidates about data management and Open Science. It is very fulfilling to be able to support them with incorporating new practices in their workflow and to imagine a future where this new generation of researchers is setting a new norm for how to practice scientific research.

What is something unexpected that you can offer help with, if a colleague reaches out to you?

Not all my colleagues are aware that I’m also involved in Ally Skills Workshops. The Ally Skills Workshop teaches simple everyday ways people can make their workplaces more inclusive. I think Open Science includes ensuring that the research environment is inclusive to anyone who wants to contribute. This aspect of Open Science is often overlooked, while anyone can take steps to make the research environment more inclusive.

What do you think your community of research data professionals is missing?

It would be great to have some more harmonisation in terms of what materials we are teaching. It is not entirely missing - this is already picked up by initiatives such as The Carpentries and the new Digital Research Academy!

What is a topic you would want to collaborate on with others?

I’m an advocate for recognition of the work of not only Data Stewards, but any role involved in research that is not necessarily considered being a ‘researcher’. This year the ‘A Manifesto for Rewarding and Recognizing Team Infrastructure Roles’ was published and I co-organised a session on recognising support staff at the Recognition and Rewards festival. We are still pushing this forward – so please get in touch if you’re interested!

Could you point us to a resource, learning platform, tool or similar which you find useful or inspirational?

There are two communities that I’m involved with and where I keep learning more about Open Science and reproducible and inclusive research: The Turing Way and the Open Seeds programme. Both communities provide guides or training materials, a peer network and an inspiring environment where great work gets done.

Get in touch with Esther: TU Delft profile | Website | ORCID | LinkedIn | Mastodon | GitHub

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