Early-Career Coordinated Distributed Experiments: Empowerment Through Collaboration

Pastor, AdaHernández-del-Amo, ElenaGiménez-Grau, PauFillol, MireiaPereda, OlatzFlores, LoreaSanpera-Calbet, IsisBravo, Andrea G. Martín, Eduardo J.Poblador, SílviaArroita, M.Rasines-Ladero, RubénRuiz, Celiadel Campo, RubénAbril, MeritxellReyes, MartaCasas-Ruiz, Joan PereFernández, Diegode Castro-Català, NúriaTornero, IrenePalacin-Lizarbe, CarlosArce, María IsabelMora-Gómez, J.Gómez-Gener, LluísMonroy, SilviaFreixa, AnnaLupon, Anna González-Farreras, Alexia MaríaEstévez, EdurneRodríguez-Lozano, PabloSolagaistua, LibeRodríguez-Castillo, TamaraAristi, IbónMartínez, AingeruCatalán, Núria.  Frontiers in Education 5 : 13 (2020)  DIGITAL CSIC  

Coordinated distributed experiments (CDEs) enable the study of large-scale ecological patterns in geographically dispersed areas, while simultaneously providing broad academic and personal benefits for the participants. However, the effective involvement of early-career researchers (ECRs) presents major challenges. Here, we analyze the benefits and challenges of the first CDE exclusively led and conducted by ECRs (i.e. ECR-CDE), which sets a baseline for similar CDEs, and we provide recommendations for successful CDE execution. ECR-CDEs achieve most of the outcomes identified in conventional CDEs as well as extensive benefits for the young cohort of researchers, including: (i) receiving scientific credit, (ii) peer-training in new concepts and methods, (iii) developing leadership and communication skills, (iv) promoting a peer network among ECRs, and (v) building on individual engagement and independence. We also discuss the challenges of ECR-CDEs, which are mainly derived from the lack of independence and instability of the participants, and we suggest mechanisms to address them, such as resource re-allocation and communication strategies. We conclude that ECR-CDEs can be a relevant tool to empower ECRs across disciplines by fostering their training, networking and personal well-being.