Digital life in OSIRIS
Spring 2020 has been different in OSIRIS, as everywhere else. But through digital spaces the team has in many respects been closer than ever before, and we had a successful consortium workshop 8-9 June.
OSIRIS director Magnus Gulbrandsen organising a Zoom meeting with himself, for illustration purposes.
The last year and a half has been an intensive data collection period for the OSIRIS team. We have carried out a large-scale survey about use of research among employees in ministries and public agencies, we have done a large number of interviews with users of research and with researchers, we have started looking at how research is represented in social media, and we have built up a database of contract research calls based on public databases. Our cases also include other forms of data, such as a case of the impact of industrial R&D based on access to a large number of company-internal documents and more.
In total this this represents several unique data sets and cases that provide the foundation for a lot of analyses for an improved and perhaps alternative understanding of research impact. The plan was to have several intensive working meetings spring 2020 to start some publications and analyses and finalise others, but most of our work has been in a digital format instead. Although several team members have had serious challenges under changed working conditions with delays for some sub-projects, the digital meetings have been surprisingly effective.
The consortium workshop in June is a good example. Here we focused on presentations and discussions of publications-in-progress, aiming for a friendly and constructive atmosphere and practical help to move our manuscripts one step closer to submission. Our list of manuscripts shows somewhere between 25 and 30, from early stage extended abstracts to revisions for leading journals (a paper for Research Policy from the Statistics Norway OSIRIS team was accepted only a few days ago). More than half of these manuscripts were presented and discussed at the workshop. We set aside some time for discussions of more general lessons and insights, which we will try to formulate and present at a planned midterm seminar late in the autumn 2020. The cross-disciplinary approach in OSIRIS is both exciting and challenging, and the focus on looking at impact from the "user side" has the potential for fresh contributions to a large and mature research area.
In addition to the two-day consortium workshop, we have had regular meetings with the whole team every two weeks exchanging news, insights and presenting work in progress. Every Wednesday some of the team members have gathered for a three-hour "shut up and write" session, which also has proven to be an unexpectedly effective way of working together and forging a team spirit. Even with fewer restrictions on physical meetings, OSIRIS will continue to maintain some of these digital spaces for interaction and joint work.