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We are currently looking for researchers & research assistants: here's how to apply

Why join OWID?

Researchers

Our research team is in charge of producing original academic papers for peer-reviewed journals, as well as taking published research and global datasets and translating them into short articles and interactive data visualisations. Our goal is to communicate the main insights from academic research in an accurate and understandable synthesis, providing both specialists and non-specialists with data-driven analysis on how the world is changing and why.

We need to be both quantitative and qualitative; we need to understand complex field-specific research, have a good overview of the research on a broad range of topics, be able to interpret large global datasets, and find ways of simplifying these research findings for a general audience.

If this sounds like a rewarding role for you, then you would be an ideal fit within our team! If your interests are more strongly aligned to the traditional academic work, then you may find it less rewarding.

So, what is it like to be part of the research team of Our World in Data? Here are four key points.

  • Team: We are a lovely bunch of people with an overwhelming passion for what we do. Well, of course we are a bit biased here. But it’s perhaps not an exaggeration to say most of us would still want to contribute to the project even in the absence of a paid role. Outside of work, we are all good friends.
  • Flexibility: The type of work we do can be carried out from anywhere. We are currently a global team – this lets us find the best people without a geographical constraint. We are in constant contact electronically.
  • Audience: We receive tremendous support and engagement from our many readers. The feedback and discussion that our content generates creates a mutual learning experience between us and our readers. It is our job to publish on global development issues; mutual respect is not always a given online. You quickly develop a thick skin. Nonetheless, 95% of the feedback is respectful and constructive, and we find this part of our work very motivating.
  • Learning: People may assume that we are somewhat immune to misconceptions on global development. We aren’t. Our perspectives are challenged every day; either when the data goes against our prior assumptions, through discussions with the other members of the team, or from the many readers we engage with. It is for all of us a personal goal to end the day slightly less ignorant than the day before. This makes working on Our World in Data an exciting journey for all of us.
  • Web developers

    Our web development team is in charge of publishing and maintaining our public website, as well as all the components that we use behind the scene. A key 'behind the scenes' component is the data engine that we use for making interactive charts.

    All our interactive data visualizations are a "window" into our database, which is defined by a JSON configuration. This configuration is created by our chart editor and specifies what kind of visualization, which variables from the database to request, and which countries ("entities") should be shown, along with any text annotation. The config and data are then given to our visualization engine (written in TypeScript, based around React and Mobx) to create the final SVG result.

    If you see the "Add country" button in our interactive charts, what will happen is that you will be locally altering the JSON config to change the specified entities. Combinatorially speaking, the number of potential states that our interactive charts can take is vast! If a picture is worth a thousand words, an interactive visualization can potentially be worth a thousand pictures.

    Our team of researchers is in charge of uploading data to the database, and then publishing these powerful interactive data visualizations. What this means for the programming team is that our coworkers from the research team are also key users. This is exciting: the web development team has an impact not only on final users (the readers of our publication), but also on colleagues. Having that extra direct feedback is important – we are constantly learning about what we are doing right and what we can improve to make other people's work easier in a tangible way.

    Our other users, the readers, also tend to be a fantastic source of motivation. Though there's the occasional inevitable internet negativity, the feedback we get is extemely positive and encouraging. Here's are some example:

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