Early-Career Coordinated Distributed Experiments: Empowerment Through Collaboration

Pastor, Ada
Giménez Grau, Pau
Pereda, Olatz
Flores, Lorea
Sanpera Calbet, Isis
Bravo, Andrea G.
Martín, Eduardo J.
Poblador, Sílvia
Arroita, Maite
Rasines Ladero, Rubén
Ruiz, Celia
Campo, Rubén del
Abril, Meritxell
Reyes, Marta
Casas Ruiz, Joan Pere
Fernández, Diego
Castro Català, Núria de
Palacin Lizarbe, Carlos
Arce, María Isabel
Mora Gómez, Juanita
Gómez Gener, Lluís
Monroy, Sílvia
Freixa, Anna
Lupon, Anna
Estévez, Edurne
Rodrígez Lozano, Pablo
Solagaistua, Libe
Rodrígez Castillo, Tamara
Aristi, Ibon
Martínez, Aingeru
Catalán, Núria
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 ​
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