Fostering equity and leadership: The rOpenSci Champions Program selection process

This post is adapted and abridged from the original, which appeared on the rOpenSci blog and was authored by Francisco Cardozo, Yanina Bellini Saibene, Camille Santistevan, and Lou Woodley

As part of our work with longtime client and partner rOpenSci, we’ve been supporting community manager Yanina Belini Saibene with developing their champions program. 

The goal of the rOpenSci Champions Program is to enable more members of historically excluded groups to participate in, benefit from, and become leaders in the R, research software engineering, and open source and open science communities. This program includes 1-on-1 mentoring for the Champions as they complete a project and perform outreach activities in their local communities.

This blog post focuses on how participants are selected from a pool of applicants for the rOpenSci Champions Program – a multi-step process intentionally designed to ensure a diverse cohort of Champions and Mentors. 

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The garden metaphor for community management: Companion planting and pollination – helping your members help each other

This post is part of an ongoing series exploring a number of metaphors about community management that can support conversations about specific concepts and common challenges in a creative and free-flowing manner.

You can read more about the series – and the accompanying community calls in our overview post. For each metaphor, there will be a blog post describing the metaphor and several additional posts applying it to specific scenarios. This post is the third in a series of four posts dissecting the garden metaphor. Previously, we described the house party metaphor and we subsequently published that series as a free-to-download booklet.

A drawing of corn, beans, and pumpkins all growing together, intertwined.
In a technique known as companion planting the three crops (corn, beans, pumpkin) are planted close together. Image credit: Anna Juchnowicz via Wikimedia Commons
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Exploring community scaffolding using the house party metaphor

Over the coming months we’ll be exploring a number of metaphors about community management that can support conversations about specific concepts and common challenges in a creative and free-flowing manner.

You can read more about the series in our overview post. For each metaphor, there will be a blog post describing the metaphor and several additional posts applying it to specific scenarios. This post is the second in a series of four posts dissecting the house party metaphor.

We hope you’ll join us on Wednesday, 22 November at 11am EST / 4pm UTC when we’ll be discussing the house party metaphor on our monthly community call! 

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Planning and launching a new champions program – and online community platform – at the Michael J Fox Foundation

Over the last few months, we’ve been working with Josh Gottesman and Leslie Kirsch at the Michael J Fox Foundation to plan a new online community of practice intended to support conversations about the sharing and reuse of data related to Parkinson’s Disease Research. 

As is the norm for many community projects, we’ve been taking a phased approach to the launch of this Data Community of Practice (DCoP) – working to understand the needs of the nascent community and then identifying a small group of community champions to help test the online platform and seed initial conversations before opening the community to a wider membership. 

In this blog post, we share more about how we supported MJFF through member research, the selection and design of a new online community platform, resource creation and scaffolding for their new Data Community Innovators (DCIs) program, and the planning and hosting of a DCI kick-off meeting at MJFF’s offices in NYC.

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How do you measure the impact of a community champions program?

This post was co-authored by Yanina Bellini Saibene and CSCCE Staff, and can also be found on the rOpenSci blog.

How do you measure the impact of a community champions program? This was the central question of a working session at CZI’s Accelerating Open Science in Latin America workshop, convened by rOpenSci’s Community Manager Yani Bellini Saibene and attended by CSCCE’s Founder and Director, Lou Woodley. 

Measuring the impact of any kind of community program presents a series of challenges : 

  • What is the impact that you’re hoping your program will have? 
  • Is the impact you hope the program will have something that can be measured?
  • What types of instruments can be used to measure impact? (e.g., surveys, focus groups, etc.)
  • How many times can you reasonably ask your participants to give feedback?
  • How do you (or can you?) reliably follow up with participants months or even years after a program has concluded? 
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New publication highlights NMDC Ambassador Program

A new paper published today in Nature Microbiology, co-authored by CSCCE staff members Camille Santistevan and Lou Woodley, reports on the success of the National Microbiome Data Collaborative (NMDC) Ambassador Program. 

The success of this pilot cohort of NMDC Ambassadors highlights the outsized impact community champions programs can have in culture change initiatives that rely on a change in community norms – in this case, the definition and adoption of metadata standards to aid the reuse of microbiome data. In this blog post, we offer a high-level overview of the project, but we encourage you to read the new paper, which is available here

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November’s community call recap: Community managers share their strategies for engaging volunteers

For our November call, the theme was working with volunteers. Yanina Bellini Saibene (rOpenSci) moderated a discussion between Saranjeet Kaur (RSE Asia Association) and Melissa Mendonça (NumPy, SciPy, Matplotlib, and Pandas) with brief comments from Yared Abera Ergu (The Carpentries in Africa). The panelists addressed a range of topics including:

  • The types of volunteer positions available in their communities
  • What motivates their volunteers
  • Problems with common approaches to volunteer labor and potential solutions

In this blog post, we provide brief descriptions of the panelists’ and facilitator’s backgrounds and summarize their thoughts on these three topics.

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Champions programs tip sheets all now available!

Today we’re releasing the remaining five tip sheets in a nine-part series on launching and running community champions programs. These publications are an output of the CSCCE community champions programs working group, and were co-created with members of that working group in writing sprints during the Spring of 2022. 

In this blog post, we revisit the first four tip sheets in the series as we summarize the whole collection, essential reading for anyone interested in mobilizing emerging leaders in their community. 

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New tip sheets on planning and launching community champions programs!

Today we published four tip sheets intended to help you plan and launch a community champions program. They were co-created by CSCCE staff and members of our champions programs working group, and complement the champions guidebook that we released last year. 

Ultimately, these four tip sheets will be joined by five more, each one illustrating one of the nine stages of community champions programs described in the guidebook (and shown below). Read on to find out more about champions, champions programs, and how they maintain, grow, and evolve communities in STEM.

Image credit: CSCCE. Citation: Center for Scientific Collaboration and Community Engagement. (2021) The CSCCE Community Participation Model – Exploring the Champion mode. Woodley and Pratt doi: 10.5281/zenodo.5275270
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CSCCE partners with the National Microbiome Data Collaborative to promote metadata standards adoption

CSCCE is wrapping up a project with the National Microbiome Data Collaborative (NMDC) to support their inaugural cohort of NMDC Ambassadors, who are raising awareness and adoption of metadata standards. 

The National Microbiome Data Collaborative (NMDC) is an open science platform through which scientists can deposit and find microbiome data. NMDC staff are working to support the adoption of FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) data and metadata practices by the researchers who use their platform. One of the ways they are doing this is through the establishment of a champions program: the NMDC Ambassadors program. 

Champions programs are ways of empowering emergent leaders within a community to take on additional roles and push forward the mission of the community. At CSCCE, we regularly work with clients on what an effective ambassadors program might look like in their context, and off support and best practices for getting a program off the ground. 

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