Academic Data: Are data analysis freelance experts necessary to handle it?

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Research in universities often benefits from the structured environment of academia. Unlike in small business or industry settings, intra-mural (within university) collaborations allow various experts to contribute to the research. Generally, academia does not suffer from a shortage of expertise due to collaborative efforts.

However, not all collaborations succeed and mistakes happen. David Broockmann, a political science expert who was back then a graduate student of UC Berkeley, pointed out irregularities from another political science paper. Such incidences cause embarrassment and hurt the hard earned credibility in academia. Could these incidences be avoided?

data analysis freelancer

Several solutions can be proposed to ensure quality data. Hiring a freelance expert to provide data science related consultations can be one of the solutions. Here we discuss top three reasons for hiring a freelance Ph.D. or post-doc for data science related projects:

  1. a) Flexibility: A freelance data expert can be hired as and when need; further, the tasks that require input from an external freelance expert may vary a lot. For instance, a research group may need an expert to cross check their findings from data analysis; whereas others may need a data scientist to run a part of project. A principal investigator (PI) with a limited budget can benefit from the flexibility of hiring a freelance expert.
  2. b) Expertise: More data is available to the present day academicians than in the past. This availability of data has led to newer methods of data analysis. Since many universities are on a ‘hiring freeze’, intramural data science experts to handle these large volumes of data may not be easily available. If available, these university experts may be swamped with projects. Hiring an external expert will ensure that the projects are smoothly run and produce much-needed publications on time.
  3. c) Time management: Most faculties are racing against time and need to churn out quality publications within a limited timeframe. “Publish or perish” is the mantra and perish is not an option. A freelance expert may help faculties and their research groups to be productive within short time.

Academic research is getting more collaborative and in recent years; recently, more data sharing initiatives have been started in the US, and also the EU. For instance, in the field of genetics research, in particular with next generation sequencing, analyzing ‘big data’ can help us fight disorders such as cancer, diabetes and neurological disorders. Additionally, analysis of ’big data’ from social media or wearable devices is providing insights into various social, economic, medical and behavioral issues. It is not a surprise that academic researchers are attracted to these ‘big data’. With availability of more data, more research questions can be answered. However, academia might face a shortage of skilled data science experts. A freelance expert can share your burden.

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About Author

Aditi is an expert in the field of mind-body interactions. After completing a PhD in Human Physiology from the University of Oregon, her research focused on physiological changes associated with emotional blunting and stress. Apart from science, she is interested in food writing, art and art history.

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