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