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16 Oct 2023

Developing a Needs Analysis for Open Scholarship in Linguistics and the Language Sciences

Developing a Needs Analysis for Open Scholarship in Linguistics and the Language Sciences

by Helene N. Andreassen, RDA Domain Ambassador for Linguistics


There has been low uptake in linguistics generally of open science and FAIR practices, and the members of the RDA Linguistic Data Interest Group (LDIG) have long called for an initiative to determine which educational efforts are needed to broadly train linguists in the methods of open science. One aim for my Ambassadorial period has therefore been to leverage the LDIG community to develop and pilot a Needs Analysis survey. This activity addresses the disciplinary need to educate linguists and language scientists – a need that was first identified in Reproducible research in linguistics: A position statement on data citation and attribution in our field (Berez-Kroeker et al. 2018,


The questionnaire has been developed by myself and the two co-chairs of LDIG, Lindsay Ferrara and Andrea Berez-Kroeker. We have used two surveys as starting point, i.e. “Open data: The researcher perspective” by Berghmans et al. (2017) and “Practical challenges for researchers in data sharing” by Stuart et al. (2018). We have also had a couple of informal discussions with linguist colleagues who have already performed scoping activities for different subfields of linguistics.


To assure the quality of the structure and content of the survey, we have piloted it twice. First, in May/June this year, we sent the survey – via our professional connections – to linguists in three European universities. Second, in September, we distributed a revised version of the survey to the members of LDIG. We got around 30 responses, in total.


We plan to finalise the survey during and immediately after our group session at the RDA Plenary 21 in Salzburg in October, and in November-December, we will work together with members of LDIG to develop a plan for the launch of the survey. In order to collect representative data (geographic regions, sub-disciplines, levels of experience), we need to carefully plan when and how to get in touch with the individual linguists. Our current plan is to have a clear plan ready by the end of the year, and then spend the winter of 2024 distributing it to all global regions. We are also considering to follow up the survey with some in-depth focus group interviews. 


The survey is designed to inform about international initiatives and infrastructures, but above all, it is designed to identify the level of knowledge, experiences and key challenges facing linguists regarding various open science practices. We are very excited about this project as it will help LDIG tailor its activities in the near future. The data and the results will of course be shared with open access somewhere suitable, and we hope relevant stakeholders will make use of this information to continue working on support services that can help linguists make their research more transparent and reproducible. 



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