DataCite is pleased to welcome Robin Dasler to our team. Robin joined DataCite as product manager in March. Get to know her better via this interview.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you did before you started working for DataCite?
I began my career as a science liaison librarian, mostly in the physical sciences and math, and I made the jump to data librarian roles once they came on the scene. My most recent position prior to DataCite was at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), where I worked on requirements and policies for our various data sharing portals, like CERN Open Data (http://opendata.cern.ch/) and CERN Analysis Preservation (Chen et al. (2016)). While there, I also led the sustainability and evaluation piece (Dasler (2016)) of the EU-funded THOR project (https://project-thor.eu/). I've always had an interest in analytics and in how processes can be made better by focusing on necessary and measurable service priorities, so product management for research data software projects seems like a natural fit.
What interested you in the job at DataCite? Any particular problems that you would like to work on?
Being a process-oriented person, what most interested me about DataCite was the opportunities presented by its small size. Working for a small specialized organization like DataCite means working for an organization with a very specific focus in terms of the problems it seeks to solve. This gives us the potential to make a large impact on a specific corner of the research data community. But at the same time, DataCite's small team size also means that each of us needs to know a bit about everything that's going on, and I like having that kind of informed view of the work from all angles.
In terms of particular problems for DataCite operations, I'd like to ensure that we can continue to balance all our different projects and partnerships so that we can remain effective and efficient as we scale up. As for problems in the wider data space that DataCite or persistent identifiers could potentially solve, I think it could be fun to explore distributed conference proceedings.
Why do you think product management is important for DataCite?
DataCite is in a phase of rapid growth. This means that we're in a good place to consider new opportunities for scaling up our operations. To be successful balancing this growth, we'll need to stay on top of our product roadmap, as well as the member priorities that inform that roadmap. Introducing a product management role to the team adds an important link between our technical priorities and our communication strategy. This will hopefully provide us with a more holistic view going forward that can help us to efficiently develop new products and services without losing sight of what it takes to maintain our existing membership.
Any particular challenges you see with this role?
DataCite is currently involved in several projects with other external organizations. While it's great to be part of this collaborative experience and to be tackling bigger problems than we could on our own, it can be tricky to balance all of the separate priorities (and deadlines) that come from having your fingers in all the pies. I think a particular challenge for me will be to make sure we stay true to all of our external commitments while keeping on top of our service priorities for our members.
Where do you want to see DataCite in three years?
I'd like to see DataCite be financially sustainable on member fees alone, and I think with our current growth we're poised to reach that goal. From a product standpoint, this would enable us to exercise some additional selectivity in the external research and development projects we take on, letting us focus on those projects that would best improve our member experience and allowing us more control over our development timeline.
Chen, X., Dallmeier-Tiessen, S., Dani, A., Dasler, R., Fernández, J. D., Fokianos, P., … Šimko, T. (2016). CERN analysis preservation: A novel digital library service to enable reusable and reproducible research. In Research and advanced technology for digital libraries (pp. 347–356). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-43997-6_27
Dasler, R. (2016). Thor: Metrics and tools. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.46761