Today we’re launching the first outputs from a project that we’ve been working on this year to better characterize communities in science – and to support scientific community managers, their leadership, and funders to meaningfully compare some of the current activities taking place across the broad landscape of STEM community projects.
The CSCCE community profiles project has resulted in the creation of an initial collection of 13 community profiles – two page PDFs capturing core features of each community from staffing to programming and funding sources. We collected the data using a custom, detailed survey and then translated what we found to a standardized profile template, which was specifically created for this project. The resulting profiles, which incorporate CSCCE’s own frameworks for describing communities and community member engagement, allow easy comparison between different scientific communities.
In this post we introduce the rationale for the project and highlight the first 13 profiles. In Thursday’s post, we outline how the project was carried out.
Our next CSCCE Community Call is on Wednesday 19th February at 2pm Eastern. Join us to discuss how we’re going to be creating Community Profiles to help connect scientific community managers with others doing similar things – and how to make the profiles useful to you!
Introducing the Community Profiles project
Some of the questions that we get asked most often about scientific community management go along the lines of “I’m looking to launch a new community focused on X. Can you tell me about another organization that’s already done this?” or “We’re looking to expand our community programming to include Y. Are there any best practices about how to do this – or things we should absolutely avoid?”
To help our community members to answer these questions more directly themselves, we’re looking to create a series of downloadable Community Profiles. At this concept stage (read: plans may evolve as we test and iterate!) we envisage that the profiles will be very visual, two-page summary sheets with some vital stats about specific communities that have agreed to be featured. As a user, you’ll be able to compare communities with similar audiences, online tools, programming and more – and possibly also reach out to their community manager to ask any follow up questions.
Scientific communities can come in a range of different configurations – from those hosted by professional associations to large-scale research collaborations. The CSCCE Community Profiles provide a snapshot of each community featured, highlighting member demographics, programming, funding and what community management looks like.
This project was conceived and led by CSCCE’s Director, Lou Woodley, with significant input from CSCCE’s Communications Director, Katie Pratt in the development of the final profiles. There have been two phases to this project to date – the first in 2019/2020 and the second in 2021. In both phases, Sara Kobilka, an independent consultant, worked with us on survey design and data collection. In phase one, the Community Profiles working group additionally gave valuable feedback on survey design and the initial profile format.
The word “community” has been broadly adopted by many organizations to describe groups that range from newsletter recipients to highly active working groups. Different community configurations may reflect different goals, stages of maturity, and levels of community management support. So how can you as a community manager, senior manager or funder know what’s possible with the resources you have available? We initiated this project in order to:
Support existing scientific community managers in finding information and inspiration from other community efforts – including community managers to reach out to.
Start standardizing the way that scientific communities are described to allow easier comparison and setting of expectations – by community managers, senior managers, funders and evaluators.
Share observations and make recommendations based on what we learn from our taxonomy development and data curation.
How the project was carried out
Planning for the CSCCE Community Profiles started in 2019 and the work on the first round of 13 profiles took place in 2020. Data was gathered using a custom survey – developed with feedback from the CSCCE community profiles working group – and translated into a standardized profile template to allow comparison between the featured communities. The resulting profiles, which incorporate CSCCE’s own frameworks for describing communities and community member engagement, are available for download from the links below.
We revisited the profile format and the survey in 2021, making updates which resulted in the current three-page profile format seen in the phase two profiles below. All of the profiles in this growing collection are now listed alphabetically on this page and you can use the publication date to determine which phase the profile was created in.
We welcome feedback on these profiles and hope to expand and update the collection, based on demand. We will be releasing additional profiles in September 2021.
We partner with clients to create special collections of community profiles that focus on specific domains or projects within the STEM ecosystem. If you are interested in learning more about how to work with us in this way, including adding a profiles project to your grant proposal, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Lou Woodley, Katie Pratt, Sara Kobilka, Erin McLean
September 22, 2020
This CSCCE Community Profile features the Arctic Data Center at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS). Data was provided by Erin McLean, Community Engagement and Outreach Coordinator.
by Lou Woodley, Katie Pratt, Sara Kobilka, Alison Parker, and Jarah Meador
November 8, 2021
This CSCCE x Wilson Center Community Profile features the Challenge and Prize Community of Practice. Data was provided by Jarah Meador, Director of Open Innovation at the General Services Administration.
by Lou Woodley, Katie Pratt, Sara Kobilka, Rebecca Carpenter
September 22, 2020
This CSCCE Community Profile features the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Virtual Academic Community (DHHVAC) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Data was provided by Rebecca Carpenter, Community Manager.
This post, written by CSCCE Director Lou Woodley, takes a look at the motivations of academics who use social networking tools.
Last week our team took a quick look at a recent paper, which asks “Why do academics use academic social networking sites?” The paper presents the results of a survey of 81 researchers at three Israeli institutes who were asked about their motivations for using ResearchGate and Academia.edu.
The survey draws upon the Uses and Gratifications theory from the field of media studies for its research questions – exploring whether the five broad motivations for media consumers may also apply to academics that use online professional networks. Here we outline that theory and then highlight some of the findings from the paper.
Two weeks ago we announced the AAAS Community Engagement Fellows program. Following on from that, Program Director (and Trellis’ Community Engagement Director) Lou Woodley answered some great questions from Matt Shipman on the Communication Breakdown blog. The conversation is cross-posted below.
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