We from Our World in Data are currently at Y Combinator in Silicon Valley as one of the few academic non-profits ever to be selected. The experience here helped us develop a clear vision for our work in the coming year and it became evident that we can do better if we find one more team member to work with us.
Thanks to the direct support from readers and via academic grants, we now also have stable funding for the next years, so we're looking for one more colleague:
A frontend developer with good generalist skills who will focus on making Our World in Data better for the reader. You can apply at the site of the University of Oxford, where we are based.
You can find all the details about the position in the link above, but I wanted to tell you about my own experience with the project. I am Max Roser who started working on this publication in 2012. Since then, we've grown to become a proper team of researchers and programmers. We've been covered widely by the media, and often work on collaborations with a wide reach and great partners, for example videos (1, 2, 3) with Kurzgesagt or books or in partnership with big policy institutions.
Our World in Data is a non-profit, creative commons web project based at the University of Oxford. We think it is not possible to understand how our world is changing from following the daily news alone and so we write about the long-term trends that reshape our world – global poverty, CO2 emissions, fertility rates, mental health, and many more topics.
We want to understand how the world has changed and why, so that we can give everyone a clear idea of how it is possible to make a difference for where the world goes in the future. We see ourselves as a bridge between the scientific literature and the rest of the world, presenting information in a way that is understandable by non-specialist audiences, while still being rigorous and in depth.
Much of academic research today is published in a format that was available to Johannes Gutenberg in the 15th century – sheets of paper on which we print text and some visuals. On the web, research is still mostly published in PDFs, which is essentially a digital version of printed paper. In your work with us, you will try to go beyond this and help us find better ways to communicate global development research that make use of the capabilities of the web.
We have built some tools (like the Grapher) and written on many topics, but there is a lot more to be done. For example, these are some of the projects we have planned:
- Build a public interface to explore our full database containing over 70,000 variables
- Implement new types of interactive visualizations: stacked bar charts, cumulative distribution plots, Sankey diagrams
- Create pages for individual countries, showing their progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals
- Create a searchable list of all of our content by topic: entries, blog posts, interactive and static visualizations
- Improve the discoverability of our content – especially our long entries and the sections inside them
We are all pretty excited to work on those, and hopefully you are too!
Our team is distributed around the world and we communicate via Slack and Notion, but our home is the University of Oxford. If you're physically nearby, it is a lovely city and university to work at (it's hard to tell where the university ends and the city begins). Remote work in some cases might also be possible (get in touch).
Being based out of the university means we aren't primarily a tech organization. We are not a startup and there is no venture capital involved – our team is one half scientists and one half developers. We take both sides very seriously: Here at Y Combinator we are at a great place for the development team and we are building many contacts from here; back at the University of Oxford we are at home in one of the best places in the world to do research.
Our main users – the readers of our work – are great. It is very motivating to work for an enthusiastic and growing audience. From feedback, we know that our work is used in lots of different ways: by journalists, professors, school teachers, charities in low-income countries, and even two psychologists who have included global development data in therapy sessions (we were very surprised about that one!).
For all of us, it is incredibly motivating to know that our work is useful to other people, and that seems to be the case for most people. So I will leave that as my main argument for why you should consider working with us.
If you don't want to take my word for it, maybe you can trust Patrick Collison's judgement – he permanently recommends working with us on his job recommendation page.
If you want join us as our new frontend developer, get in touch or send us your application right away!