Bringing researchers and data professionals together

That’s the ambition of Lena Karvovskaya, the new Community Engagement Manager (CEM) for Research Data Management at the VU.

04/07/2020 | 2:29 PM

She obtained her PhD in Leiden and previously worked as data manager at Utrecht University. In Utrecht, Lena contributed to several research projects. For example, a geo-science project EPOS. Lena developed procedures to help researchers bring data from all laboratories across Europe into one catalogueLenaKarvovskayaKlein

Lena also worked on internal infrastructure projects, such as development of the university repository, Yoda. Lena made steps to connect Yoda to the national archive DANS (Data Archiving and Networked Services). It is important for digital data that needs to be stored for a long period of time (50 years or more). As we know, digital formats change quickly with the technological developments and files that we can open now might be unusable 5 years later. DANS has a mission to keep research data accessible long-term.

“Community is a place where people come to achieve things they wouldn’t be able to do on their own”

Lena has two main goals in her new role. To begin with, make an overview of all colleagues at the University Library, IT, HR, IXA, Administrative and Legal Affairs and the faculties that are working on supporting researchers on this subject. These colleagues are spread over many departments. “It's nice to be able to reach out to them and see how we can build on this community together”, says Lena. Second, a community is formed when people come together to accomplish something that they couldn’t otherwise realize as individuals. “At the beginning, everyone is busy with their own work; the community manager is the only point of contact between the community members. I hope that at some point people will start talking to each other and will collaborate with each other without my mediation. If community building goes well, the community manager becomes ‘invisible’, while the community starts living its own active life”.

There are many things that Lena wants to work on: “Together with the research data stewards, I will work on developing instruments to help researchers choose the best suitable research data management tools. We are also working on training materials and posters. Together with Sander Bosch, the new open science coordinator, I will support the existing initiatives at VU, such as OSCA (Open Science Community Amsterdam) and ReproducibiliTea. We are reaching out to advocates for open science and good research data management practices at different faculties.”

Thus Lena works towards improving communication to researchers and data professionals about all the options available to receive support.

If you have ideas or suggestions for community building, get Lena would be thrilled to hear from you through email ( or Twitter (@LangData)!