Gridding through 2021

Author: Esther Plomp

tl;dr: Overview of the year for Esther Plomp.

After I saw the very comprehensive overview of the Turing Way on their year in the December newsletter I got inspired to write my own 2021 overview. Luckily, I already had some documentation lying around, as I started with ‘Gridding’ this year (thanks to a Tweet by Laura Rossi!). At the end of 2020 I read Magdalena Bak-Maier’s book ‘the Grid’, which encourages you to define priorities and goals for the long term. This could be work related goals, but also personal things. For example, my Twitter thread on books is something that resulted from this grid exercise, as I prioritised reading (or listening to) a book every week this year. While I did not reach all my set goals for this year, I think it is a useful tool to consider priorities and plan more realistically. I will therefore continue to use this in the future! 


My 2021 started with coordinating the TU Delft/Leiden Data Carpentry workshop on learning to manage tabular data and beginning with programming using R. I started coordinating the TU Delft Carpentries in September 2020 and learned a lot about online workshop organisation. I also started discussions with our Carpentry instructors on how we could further improve the workshops. Several documents on how we run the Carpentry workshop at TU Delft are now available (such as information sheets on being a helper and on coordinating the workshops).

I also began my activities to reduce the PhD duration at the Faculty of Applied Sciences. Together with Ans van de Schaik from the Faculty Graduate School and Pascale Daran-Lapujade, the director of the Faculty Graduate School, we’re trying to increase awareness around the topic and throughout the year we managed to set up some practical tools. More to follow in 2022!

During the PIDapalooza21 festival I got to talk about the many different aspects of the analysis of human teeth in the ‘Name and describe your favourite collectible’ session. 


February was marked by two Open Science events: The Open Science Festival, of which I was a programme committee member and a session organiser, as well as the International Open Science Conference that normally takes place in Berlin. For the latter conferences I presented a poster on the Open Research Calendar, together with Alexandra Lautarescu and Bradley Kennedy from the Open Research Calendar.

In February I also started mentoring for both the Carpentries and the Open Life Science programme (OLS 3). The Open Life Science programme provided training and a lot of support in my mentor journey. Being a part of the programme has been a consistent part of my year, as a mentor and as a presenter/expert on Open Data. Midway 2021 the Faculty Graduate school approved OLS as a course that PhD candidates could follow for credits (OLS-4)! We are looking forward to continuing this partnership in 2022 for OLS-5. 

This year I was also involved in the CSCCE Community Champions meetings. I presented the TU Delft Data Champions initiative and shared our experiences in establishing the community. An outcome of these sessions are tip sheets that will be shared in 2022 on how you can start your own Champion Initiative. 


I gave two workshops on Data Management. The first one was on Data Management Plans for the  Helis Academy. The second one on general Data Management was part of the SeaChanges meeting. 

I participated in two events organised by the Software Sustainability Institute


In April I was coordinating the TU Delft Software Carpentry Workshop and co-organising the Physical Samples session during the Research Data Alliance (RDA)’s 17th Plenary Meeting.

I wrote a guest blog post for ‘The Open Archaeobotanist’ and a scholarship reflection post on my Research Data Access & Preservation Association (RDAP) conference experiences. 


May was a very busy month, with multiple workshops and events taking place!


The RDA/ESIP Physical Samples webinar series kicked off in June. The series started with sample management, with a focus on RSpace. In July the webinar was focused on persistent identifiers for reagents and materials (RRIDs). In October we invited several speakers from different disciplines to discuss interdisciplinary sample use. You can find more information about these activities in the 2020-2021 overview of the Physical Samples Interest Group.

As a member of Young Science in Transition I contributed to the YoungSiT symposium on Recognition and Rewards.

As part of the csv,conf,v6 birds of a feather session I contributed to a blog post on Tracking Impact and Measuring Success in Data Education Events.

By the end of June I coordinated my final Software Carpentry Workshop! 


July was all about writing! I submitted a data paper on my isotopic research. Together with Emmy Tsang and Paula Martinez Lavanchy we wrote an overview of our efforts in taking the Carpentry Workshops online (currently still under review). 

I also taught spreadsheet management at another Data Carpentry workshop that was coordinated by Leiden University. 


I attended the FSCI2021 event and followed the ‘Train-the-trainer’ course on Reproducibility for Everyone, as well as a course on Open Science assessment. Unfortunately, there are still no clear solutions for the evaluation of datasets, protocols and software.

As part of the Open Science in Practice Series 2021 I gave a presentation on the TU Delft Software Policy. I also attended some of the other presentations and hope to perhaps host a similar Open Science series at TU Delft as it is a great way to generate discussions around Open Science topics. Luckily, the Open Science Coffees from the TU Delft Open Science Community kicked off in September with a session on Code Review

In the months of August and September I took a beginner course on leadership. This course took place in person, which was a nice change of pace, and has helped me enormously with time management, setting priorities and asking for more feedback. 


This month was very exciting as I got to present the plans for an Open Science Team to the management team! The following months I worked on gathering team members from each department of the faculty, and on the next steps that the team can take. Around the same time we’re setting up a Publication Task Force together with the Library to address the increasing publishing costs and generate awareness around publishing more sustainably. More to follow in 2022! 

I presented ‘Data sharing is caring’ at the British Association for Biological Anthropology and Osteoarchaeology (BABAO) conference. I think presenting at existing disciplinary specific events is the most effective way to inform researchers about the latest Open Science developments.

I also wrote two blog posts this month. The first post was a collaboration on quality and the journal impact factor in research, together with Emmy Tsang and Antonio Schettino. The second blog post was a follow up on a post I wrote on publishing articles in 2021, but this time with a focus on data: Managing and Sharing Data in 2021.

During the OS FAIR conference I co-organised a Turing Way workshop on collaboration together with Turing Way community members Emma Karoune and Rachael Ainsworth

I also started following a drawing course by Scriberia, inspired by the Turing Way illustrations


In October I made several contributions to events and initiatives organised by others: 

  • As part of the SeaChanges workshop I co-organised another workshop together with Lane Atmore that introduced GitHub and Open Science practises. Many thanks to the SeaChanges early career researchers for participating so enthusiastically and being so generous with their feedback! A nice side effect of this workshop is that I now also have a semi up to date website
  • As part of the TU Delft Diversity week I co-organised an Ally Skills Workshop and helped Emmy Tsang to organise the Open Science Coffee on Diversity and Inclusion in Research, Technology and Design
  • As part of the Data Horror Week, an event around Halloween to increase awareness for data management, I wrote a blog about my PhD experiences. This was also partly inspired by a lack of use cases that I see in my work on PhD duration: there is not a lot of public experience sharing of negative experiences. I tried to contribute by writing the blog ‘PhD in 4, 5-6-7’. Many thanks to Lena Karvovskaya for the encouragement to write this blogpost!
  • I also updated my teaching materials for managing tabular data in Excel for the Data Carpentry that took place (25-26 October).


I was a bit too enthusiastic this month, deciding that I was going to write 500 words each day (blogs, articles etc, based on the novel writing month NaNoWriMo), as well as finish one drawing per day. While I did manage to do this, I recommend not tackling two challenges in the same month… 

Several events around the Turing Way took place this month. 

November was also a very busy month in terms of researcher requests. I reached the amount of requests that I had in 2020 (n = 186), with 26 requests in total this month (average is ~16). 


Originally intended as a quiet, catch-up month, December started with two fantastic conferences that I could not ignore: AIMOS2021 and FORCE2021. For AIMOS (the Association for Interdisciplinary Meta-research and Open Science) I submitted a discussion session on ‘Moving Open Science forward at the institutional/departmental level’ (summary blog post coming up in January!). For FORCE2021, a conference on the latest developments in scholarly communications,  I introduced The Turing Way in a lightning talk

Looking back at 2021 I’m very proud of what I managed to accomplish and set up despite primarily working from home and experiencing some general anxieties around the pandemic. I’m looking forward to working together with the wonderful people from the Faculty Open Science Team,  Publication Taskforce, Open Research Calendar, PhD duration, IsoArcH, YoungSiT, The Turing Way and Open Life Science programme in the upcoming year! 

Happy holidays! 🙂

One comment

  1. Pingback: Data Stewardship at TU Delft – 2021 Report | Open Working

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