Building communities and collaborations using socio-technical systems – A conversation with Laure Haak

Published by Access 2 Perspectives on

Cite as: Haak, Laurel; Havemann, Johanna (2022): Building communities and collaborations using socio-technical systems. figshare. Media.

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Laure shares steps in her career including her contributions to ORCID as founding executive director that led her towards building the Mighty Red Barn consultancy. We explore the purpose and role of [open] scholarship and respectful community building as well as collaboration in engaging with societal challenges.

Personal profiles

Laure Haak

Laure Haak (she/her) is an entrepreneur, strategist, researcher, and author. She enjoys working with communities to weave compelling stories and create collaborative spaces that inspire sharing, trust, and transparency. As founder and CEO of Mighty Red Barn, her practice areas are socio-tech entrepreneurship, research infrastructure, nonprofit governance, decision frameworks, and product strategy.  
Her work draws on diverse experiences – workplace, sector, community, travel – including service as founding Executive Director of ORCID, leadership roles at Thomson ReutersThe US National Academies, and Science Magazine; as well as volunteer service on nonprofit Boards and as a SCORE small business mentor. 
Laure is the recipient of the NIH Director’s Award and the Vietsch Medal of Honour. She has a BS and MS in Biology and PhD in Neuroscience from Stanford University and did postdoctoral work at the US National Institutes of Health.

Which researcher/s – dead or alive – do you find inspiring? Marie Curie, Barbara McClintock, Simone de Beauvoir, Salonnières

What is your favorite animal and why? Dogs and porcupines and swans and humans and bees and worms, … I don’t have a favorite.

Name your (current) favorite song and interpret/group: Eclectic taste; depends on the day and what I am working on.

What is your favorite dish/meal? One of the best meals I ever had was at the Plum and Spilt Milk. 

Ozzie the Dog, ready for the local bar.

Blue sky everywhere. This is where I live.

Selected research articles

Board Service (active)

  • Cohort Sistas – a digital nonprofit that supports Black women pursuing doctoral degrees by providing resources, mentorship, and community.
  • Open Research Central – To foster the re-imagination of the research dissemination system to facilitate trust, collaboration, and transparency through setting norms and standards.
  • Phoenix Bioinformatics – Develop an economically and technologically sustainable business model and platform that provides the resources to allow scientific databases to persist, grow, and prosper.


Jo: Welcome, everyone, to Access 2 Perspectives Conversations. Today, we have Laure Haak as our guest, and I’m very happy that she agreed to share her journey so far. You are probably familiar with her as the former founding director of ORCID, the persistent identifier for Researcher, which enables you to do a lot of things that facilitate also open science practices. Laure is an entrepreneur, a strategist, and author, and also a researcher. She’s very much community-oriented and practices in areas such as social tech, entrepreneurship, research infrastructure, nonprofit governance, decision frameworks, and also product strategy. She has fairly recently found the Mighty Red Barn, which we’re gonna hear more about what that entails and the wonderful things that are going to come out of it. So despite being the founding executive director of ORCID, she also had leadership roles at Thompson Reuter. The US National Academies, Science magazine, as well as volunteer services and nonprofit boards, and served as a Score Small Business mentor. She’s a recipient of the NIH Directors Award and the Vietsch Medal of Honor. Laure, you also did your Bachelor and master’s studies at Stanford University in Biological Science and Neuroscience, respectively, and you worked as a postdoc at the US National Institutes of Health. What a career so far and much more to come. So welcome again, very much to our podcast.

Laure: Where shall we start? Yeah. So thank you for the intro and thank you for inviting me. I’m looking forward to the conversation. And I’m wondering if we start with what you talked about with community and collaboration. You do so much work yourself in creating and supporting communities of open science. And maybe we can have a bit of a conversation about the kind of how we see each other’s work, too. And how what you’ve been doing has influenced me and vice versa. That might be a fun way to go.

Jo: Thank you very much for that. And I’m very keen on hearing and also exchanging around: What does collaboration mean for us? What is a community maybe for those who are not quite sure how we define community in our respective context and what communities we’ve been members of and parts of, as well as facilitators and helped grow and foster?

Laure: In terms of collaboration, it’s a really interesting world. And I think the base of collaboration for me is respect. This idea that you can work with somebody else, but that work is foundationally based on respect for the other person, the other person as a person, the other person as a part of many communities that you may or may not ever know about. But [respecting] the other person as an intellectual being. That has things to bring into a conversation. And I think there’s also respect not just for that but also for being able to question.

It’s very difficult to have that questioning if there isn’t that base of respect upon which you can build trust. That when you start to question and say how does that work, and how does this piece work that is coming from a heart and a solid place rather than an attack. So collaboration has to start with respect, to build up trust. And that takes time. And so I think that time aspect is the part that’s problematic for many people. Taking the time to build the relationship, to build respect, to understand the different communities in the places people might be coming from, but also for those of us coming from those different communities to have the respect and trust. And it is necessary to be able to say, hey, I need respect. This is how you show respect to me. And this is a little bit about who I am to understand what I’m bringing into this conversation, and that’s tough during some aspects of the work. And we’ve talked about this as well of coming into communities where you are not known, but also coming into communities where my culture, the way that I was brought up, my experiences are not necessarily irrelevant, but they aren’t the same.

Being able to acknowledge I am now in a community where I am an outsider, and I have to figure out how do I bring respect into that community in developing that trust and collaboration. And that is a long process, that building trust process. In particular, when the community that I’m working with has been in poor trust relationships outside of their community, that’s really tough. And I know that’s something that you have certainly encountered in your work with AfricArXiv. It’s something I’m encountering right now. Working with Indigenous communities, communities that have had trust broken every step along the way. And coming in as a non-indigenous person, it’s always a challenge. Building up that level of trust and being able to figure out what is it that I have to offer into this community that this community would find valuable. And taking the time to figure that out, it’s not easy and it’s not always linear. It’s very iterative. But that’s also part of collaboration. I think if we have that intent to work together, taking that time to go on the journey, it can happen. And it’s incredibly powerful when it does.

Jo: Yes, I agree. I’ve also worked with Indigenous communities, and I have quite a few Indigenous friends. And that was a really intense lesson for me. It was like about a decade ago and still going. And I think it prepared me well for my work with AfricArXiv because I learned empathy, the hard and necessary way like you described, to acknowledge the pain and suffering, not only for the individuals we engage with, but what generations of their families and communities have been through. And the collective trauma that they experience almost on a daily basis and still facing racism and marginalization and all kinds of human rights violations. In my work now with AfricArXiv, it’s partly also that because we look at a lot of Indigenous communities on the continent and also a researchers community across the continent, as diverse as it is, which keeps being neglected or not, given the opportunities that other regions or other researchers or researchers and other regions, my experience and being offered. And that’s what we try to solve what you described. I also question myself every day and it’s painful and I wouldn’t say enjoy, but I still feel necessary. Yeah. Because we cannot know, because we’re not in their skin, we’re not in their shoes. And how is it still possible to function as an ally and to be a friend and facilitating of conversations for them to speak on their own behalf? And I think this is also what we share in enjoying to utilize a mix of human skills and technical skills to catalyze for that. Would you like to explore on this? Yeah, I think so. And I was just thinking back on my career and kind of this thinking through the different communities that I’ve been part of and that I have joined, let’s say that even starting off as in my generation in the United States. So I grew up in the US. I was the kind of first generation of kids whose moms had to deal with male and female job ads. Right. So if you were a woman, you looked at the female job ads. I’m like, really? And my mom had to quit her job when she was a teacher, when she got pregnant because you couldn’t be an obviously pregnant teacher. Right. So this is what my mom grew up with. And here I am in the 70s, we had something called Title Nine that made it much more accessible for girls to do sports, for example, at school and a whole variety of other things. So this was happening when I was a kid. So sports were just starting to become available to girls and all of that turned into me that had a huge impact or effect on how I interacted in the world. Right. So a big part of my early career, my early life, I’m going to say kind of teenage through probably 30, was really pushing for the inclusion of women in the workplace and particularly women in the scientific workplace and saying, we are here, we are intelligent, we are part of this. And so I feel like I’ve had some of that experience of trying to push into, but at the same time realizing that what we’re pushing into is not really what I want. Right. That culture of the Academy of working super long hours, not being able to enjoy family and friends because you’re supposed to be working 90 hours a week doing these experiments where you don’t get vacations where there isn’t a human resources Department, where there isn’t a way to go say, look, I’m being abused here. Right. That wasn’t right. And so that kind of first experience for me going through that wasn’t the undergrad part. It was the post, the graduate school part of realizing this isn’t the community I want to be part of. Right. And at the same time saying as a woman in science getting this message that if you drop out, you fail as a symbol of a woman in science here you’ve been fighting this whole time to be part of this community and you can’t leave because now you’re part of this leaky pipeline syndrome. And so it was really tough to say all of these. You start off in a family and then you find family, kind of you’re forced together in a found family in College, but you’re there because you’re a roommate with somebody, and then you go on for me to graduate school. And that’s when you start to actually look at finding and creating a family that community that we’re talking about and realizing it isn’t the community you want to be a part of. And then saying how do I want to change it? How should this be changed? And I think that’s a lot of where looking all the way back from Orchid. A lot of what I did at Orchid was because of these experience, these foundational informational experiences I had kind of as a kid, but also as a woman looking for family and community in graduate school and saying, I’m not seeing what I want here. I want to do research, but I don’t want to do it like this. And that wasn’t specific to my lab or my University. It was just kind of that was how research is done generally. Right. And that’s what I found out over time is all these people complaining about their situation. But moving from grad school and then postdoc into Science magazine and doing some of the work that you’ve been doing about how do we talk about the career opportunities for doctorates. Right. Folks who have a PhD or a PhD equivalent and the opportunities I had to talk to this vast array of people who were doing really interesting things where they had said, I’m not going to be forced into this family that people say I should be part of as a PhD. I’m going to go find my family and find my community, find my jam, as you like to say, and really look out there and see what works for me. Right. That doesn’t mean I’m a failure. That doesn’t mean I’m part of a leaky pipeline. It means I’m using my skills in a career that suits me. And because it suits me, I can also then give back to the community. Right. I think that was one of those big learning points for me was going from my postdoc, having interviewed at a lot of different kind of research opportunities where I would continue doing that basic research or applied research in the case because I did also look at some industry jobs and then moving from there into science network, which is now science careers, I guess it’s called. And doing that work in the post network and realizing, wow, this is just so much closer to what makes me happy. And I’m able to support research careers. Right. And support folks doing better science and having better communities and doing science, but also saying there’s so many other opportunities out here and sharing that. So that was really, I think formational for me to really think about that found family aspect of it saying I’m doing what makes me happy and that is a good thing. Yeah, that’s great to hear. And I could see myself also in some of the scenarios that you describe. I was doing my master’s degree in Stockholm, Sweden, and the laboratory was working. We had guest researchers from Spain and the first thing that I observed and encountered was the suites. They show up around well between nine and 10:00 A.m. And they leave again at 3334 because that’s when they fetch their children. I haven’t seen that in Germany. And the Spanish were like, oh, these people have equipment, we have to make use of it. So they were the first ones to shop in the lab on the Monday morning at seven or 08:00 A.m. And wouldn’t leave the Lap before ten or 11:00 P.m. To make the most of the facilities that they could during their stay excess to my attention, which is inequality in equities, in other words, that exist in the system on a global scale inside Europe already, and which I think also I’m not so passionate about research equity and global research equity. With Africa Archive and also other underfunded regions, but also inside Germany, there is an imbalance in how research funding is being distributed across universities and research institutes. But now with your work at Orkid could you explain it further and how your experiences that you’ve observed have influenced the milestones that you define for your team? And maybe also I don’t know if that’s finding the scope too wide, but also coming back to the community and collaborative aspects of your work at Orchestra, was it easier or challenging to motivate your team to create an organization for attribution

Participant #1:
what Archive provides with Identifier on our researchers and individual level, how do you think your experiences, how would you describe your experiences have influence of what Architect provides as a service to individual researchers, male, female, and also on a global scale? Yeah. So I mean, I’m going to go backwards a little bit and then forward. So I would say starting with science to the national academies, to the startup and then Thompson, Reuters, a lot of what we did was research policy work. And a lot of people would say, oh, this isn’t working right and then you’d hear the same talk five years later, this isn’t working, period. Oh, we don’t have enough data. Right. And I think this is where this idea of entrepreneurship comes in as well. And this interesting, in a way, culture clash between entrepreneurship and scholarship. Right. Where in scholarship you continue to want to dig in and dig in and dig in and get perfect information. And there’s research where you’re continually making experiments to try to figure out something. Right. And iterating through things. And then you have this concept of a startup that involves both this scholarship trying to understand what is this problem you’re trying to solve, but also bolts on or integrates this concept of research, which is iteration. I don’t know exactly how to solve this problem, but I have some ideas. I have hypothesis. And so I’m going to try a few things and see where that gets me. I have this vision of what I want to solve, but I don’t know exactly how to solve it. And so I think Orchid came out of that where you had the example of, for example, Thompson Reuters setting up researcher ID. You had Altavier with their scholar ID. You had a variety of different identifiers across communities, from publishers to societies, et cetera. They didn’t all work together. Right. And so you would go through this whole process of trying to what’s called disambiguate the names in your system to get all the Lori Hack records together. But as soon as you added a new record into the system, you had to do it all over again. And so everybody was in pain. And so the commercial entities came together with the nonprofit entities like the universities and the repositories, these entities that usually don’t get along at all. Right. Are finally saying in order to solve this problem, we have to work together. And that’s what I loved about Orchid was this idea of a found family that got together for a mutual self interest. Totally worse for me. Right. Everyone’s got a stake in the game. And they know that if they can put down everything long enough to be able to work together and form something that they all could benefit from, the world would be a better place. So for them, even if it’s self interest. Right. And so into this, I had been doing a variety of things. And again, for me, the background was always, I would like to make it possible for all of the people who participate in the research process, whether it’s the principal investigator, Professor Statistician, the postdoc, the grad student, everyone on these projects to have their contribution acknowledged in. What I saw kind of growing up in that environment was the inequity of credit. Right. You’re talking about the inequity of equipment and facilities. I saw the inequity of credit and that both of those things come back to who gets funded, who has access to the equipment because they’ve gotten funded, who is able to tell the story, which comes back to equity and communities, who is up there on the day of telling the story matters a lot for me. Again, with my background, if I see a woman up there, I’m like, Yay, there’s finally a woman telling a story about what’s going on in science. The same is true for so many other communities. Right. I want to see somebody like me, too, having made it to be able to tell the story. But it’s not even just that. It’s not just one person who made this happen. It’s a whole group of people who made this happen. And how can we make all of those contributions visible and make it more understood that to get that one person up there telling the story, all of these people had to contribute. Right. And so I brought that with me into Orchid to say this isn’t just about the technology of an Identifier for me to have that I could use as I do my work. Right. It’s about me getting credit for my contributions big and small to a project for that to become visible and for that to then change the way we understand and do research. Right. So that’s what I brought in was kind of a bit of a zeal in changing the way research is done. And I think that became it was more easy to have a rallying cry around that vision than it was around. Oh, there’s this Identifier. We need to build a blah, blah, blah system. No, it was we can change the way research is done. So it does become more equitable, more accessible. And it does attract people into it because for however long they’re part of the research system, they get credit for the work that they’ve done. Not just only credit when you’re the principal investigator, but you get credit for every piece of the way. Right. That’s what I was trying to do at Workit. And I think that’s what was able to motivate the team and also motivate others as early adopters who got that, who understood that’s really the crux of what Orchid was about. Also, when you’re in a startup up to that point, I had been in startups, but they had already started up. I’d been in really large organizations. I had been acquired by my organization, had been acquired. I’ve been part of a merger and acquisition process. I had been part of Sunsetting and Organization. So kind of all the steps along the way. And for me was this, for me personally, was this wonderful opportunity to actually participate in getting an organization started from employee one up into starting up and launching. That was for me just a wonderful experience.

Participant #1:
So in terms of motivating the team, a lot of it was also finding people at the beginning when we’re just starting that loved working in a start up with 100% uncertainty. Right. When I started, there’s no employee handbook. There’s no benefits package. There was none of that. It’s like, hey, Laurie, we have salary for you for two years, right. Not quite sure where this is going. Go for it. You make it happen. And the board had done amazing work with the principals. They put the bylaws together. The governance structure was there. It had been incorporated. So kind of the process pieces of it. And that foundational element of what work it was and the bringing the stakeholders together had been done. Right. A lot of the community work, getting people to understand kind of at its nature, what the promise of work it was. Right. I came in on the operational side and said, okay, how are we going to actually make this thing work? You can talk about vision all you want, which is great to have one. How do you actually launch this system? And so it came in in April, and I got my tech person, Laura Paglion, on board in June, and we launched this system in October that year. Right. And again, it’s not like there hadn’t been any of the technological work done. Jeff Builder and others had been working with some donated code from Thompson, Reuters, actually. But getting that launched open to the community, that was a roller coaster ride. And if you ever get me and Laura on a call, we’ll tell you the story of the day of launch. But having people like Laura. Right. Who get startups, who are willing to work in uncertainty and then building the team bit by bit again with people who get uncertainty, who thrive in that was fabulous. Right. And getting the early adopters on. When we launched the board, we had a bet the day of it. And we went out to dinner at the board and they’re like, okay, how many people you think are going to register in a certain amount of time by the end of the year? I think it was. And it was in the 5000 range, we think maybe launched in October, maybe 5000 people by the end of the year, maybe 8000. Right. Well, we had 5000 people in the first week and we had 50,000 by the end of the year. And the board was like, oh, right. And that was even with kind of a really kind of crumbly user interface things. We weren’t expecting as much traffic. It was 2012. Cloud servers weren’t then what they are now load balancing, all this other stuff. But we need to work. And by the end of the next year, we had a million people that had signed up. Right. And there’s now over. I think it’s getting close to 12 million researchers of some stripe has signed up for an Orchid Identifier.

Participant #1:
For me, it’s that coming in with this great big wash of uncertainty, trying to figure out how do you prioritize what you work on? What’s the thing that’s going to get the next thing to happen. And if something fails to not worry too much about it, learn from it, and then go on to the next thing that research mindset in software development. It’s called agile experiment. Find out, learn from it, keep moving. And we are just really fortunate to be able to attract some wonderful people in to help with that starting phase. Yeah, that’s lovely to hear. What I think was the tagline that convinced the users into adopting Orchid at this early stage. From how I saw Orchid, and I think I registered when I was a PhD student a decade ago, and I was like, oh, there’s like an Identifier which says they’re like publisher independent. You can use it to sign up for not two, but most of our digital services that are relevant for scholars, like researchers in particular. So that seems like a Democratic approach, which was until then only available from a publisher centric approach, which is not bad itself. It’s just very biased in its nature. Right. And I think the way that we looked at it was and I think the publishers, even at the time was even if it was publisher centric, it was one publisher and then another publisher and another publisher. So each publisher had their own Identifier system. So from a user perspective, if you went to Journal X with Publisher X, you had one way of managing a profile. You had to manage profile for the publishing system and for the Journal. And then when you went to a new Journal, there was another publisher and you had to sign up for the Journal and the other publisher. So now you have four profiles out there. And as a user, you’re like, well, I don’t remember my username and login for all this. So you keep creating new profiles and the publisher system just can’t manage. And they were trying to figure out a way to deliver content. Right. If you can’t tie together all the papers that an author has participated in, it’s really difficult to deliver content effectively. Right. So there’s both this disambiguation problem. This one person has four profiles. Right. But also how do I deliver content in a meaningful way to the community from the publishers perspective? And from your perspective, it’s the pain and agony of having to sign into these stupid systems. And so Orchid provided a way to say, hey, you can use Orchid as a kind of single sign on methodology that all of these publishers and journals could adopt. So as a user, you only had to have one username and login to get into any of these systems. Right. You’d still use the security of those systems. Right. But you’re using that single sign on methodology. Back to your question of what was the thing that got researchers on board? There was no one thing. And I think that is the challenge. With large initiatives like Work, it where you’re dealing with multiple stakeholders. Right. You’ve got researchers that you need to sign in. But you’ve also got all of these different platforms that need to integrate Orchid. And the researchers use of Orchid is then seen through the lens of the different platforms they’re trying to gain access to. Right. And so the message for using Orchid might be slightly different or very different depending on what context the researcher finds themselves using it in. So is it, hey, use Orchid as a single sign on so you can submit your paper easier is it, hey, use Orchid because now you can find all your stuff really easily on the Internet or whatever system you’re in and enhance your professional profile. Right. Is it use it, work it and get credit for everything you do. Right. These are subtly different messages that you’re getting. And in the case of single sign on, a very different message, easier access to these platforms versus, hey, people will know what you do on the Internet. Right. Or on whatever system you’re a very different message. And so different researchers responded differently, and researchers would respond differently based on the context that they were in. And so one of the challenges that we have continued to have at Workit is, is it possible to have a singular message for researchers? I personally think the answer is no. I think this is where that collaboration you need to emerge those messages for the different contexts that researchers find them in and make sure that the offering, that technical offering meets the need of that user. In that context, you can’t just have a single one size fit. I don’t think you can have a one size fits all. Yeah. Was there one feedback you received from the users and early adopters or later adopters that surprise you? I was like, well, I didn’t see that coming, but that’s actually cool.

Participant #1:
Yeah. And I’m trying to think I remember we had one conversation. It wasn’t surprising, but I’m going to say it was a little frustrating for everybody involved in the conversation. So folks wanted Orchid to be a profile system.

Participant #1:
Okay. Now, at the same time, Orchid is we had 60 of people working for us when we launched. We had two full time employees, which turned to four by the end of the year. So we weren’t big. We had the scope of we’re providing an identifier. Our scope was not we’re providing a profile system. And from my previous work, I knew that trying to set up a profile system, even at one University was

Participant #1:
hard. It’s really hard at one University with one language. Right. Really hard because you’ve got all the different schools and disciplines represented at the University. And on top of that, you have the different career stages and the different tieins to the University systems. If you’re a grad student versus a full time staff member or a faculty member, and you’ve got the different motivations and contexts of all those different communities, and you’re trying to set up a profile system with established here’s the picture. But here’s the sections. When you talk to humanities and basic science researchers, they do not agree on what your profile should look like. So now you start going, oh, I got a profile system, but I have to customize how it works for these different parts and different stakeholders and different user groups. Right. And I’m going, oh, no, that’s just at one University. That’s not at two universities, and that’s not even just in one country or get as a global system with all these different languages. And if we try to take on becoming a profile system, we’re going to have massive scope creep away from trying to do this persistent Identifier piece. Right. So there is scope, creep, cost, expense. And on top of that, there already are profile systems out there that researchers use, whether it’s LinkedIn or a host of other ones. Right. They’re already out there. So where we got to with this whole thing was use whatever profile system you want to use. But those profile system should integrate Orchid. Right. So that your Orchid ID is associated with your profile, wherever that is, whatever it is, and that it can use the API to help keep your profile updated because that was a pain point, maintaining your profile on your University or whatever website. So that’s the direction we went to try to say how can we get the system to integrate Orchid, maintain the scope of Orchid, but also not kind of step on the toes of these other systems, whether they were commercial or nonprofit, and get them to do the integration of working. We thought that was a much more powerful way to support the community than to build their own. But it was a very frustrating and I think still ongoing conversation with the community because the community wants work at this open whatever platform to also have an open profile system that’s not owned by anyone. It’s owned by the community. And so I think there’s still discussion to be had there. And maybe over time or people decide to go more into providing profile like or destination type services or not. We’ll see. I mean, that’s always an ongoing question. There what they want to do. But also how is it like a venue for early adoption of the interoperability of the various persistent Identifiers that we now see being in existence, like also for institutions and to then really interconnect on a global scale? What scholarship? Yeah, I think that idea of what’s called the pig graph. Right. The identifier graph that enables you to say, here’s the data set and here’s a person and here’s a repository and the organization the repository is at. And here’s where the person’s organization is, here’s other papers and being able to use those persistent Identifiers to tie things together. And I remember having one slide in my deck where we had because we’re Orchid the person was always at the center. Right. And so we had our pig grab the person here and all this other stuff the person could be connected to because of their use of their Orchid Identifier, but also connecting their Orchid ID as they submitted a paper. So now you have an Orchid ID and a DUI stuck together, or as they submit their database. Now you have your Orchid ID and your database UI and then putting your organization on your Orchid record. So now you have a person and the roar tied together. Oh, yes. And the glory and wonder of all of those things connected together. And it’s really wonderful to see those things coming together and seeing the work that Dataset and Crossroads are doing with event data and making that event data open, available to the community to study and understand and hopefully also to inform credit based systems. Right. All these connections can come back and assist in the kind of transformation of the research ecosystem so that these contributions and activities of individuals are visible and acknowledged. Yeah. We’ve been talking for more than 30 minutes already. Let’s keep going. Also, again, afterwards, discuss if we want to divide us into two or three episodes, or we can also pause at some point for a couple of days or weeks and then resume whenever. But I’d like to take you up on what you just said. And now that we’re basically have you and others in the ecosystem, we’ve laid the foundation of creating that digital infrastructure to facilitate global research exchange or research exchange and knowledge exchange on a global scale and also recognition and attribution for everybody’s contribution to the knowledge systems that we’re creating in academia, which again, gives more discussion grounds for what is academic knowledge and what other knowledge systems exist and how can we make those complementary? I’d love to take the deep dive into these corners, but yet now looking at global research infrastructure technology wise and also facing a pandemic, or being in the midst of a pandemic and climate change and forced migration, for whatever reason, political or natural disasters, which again, most of which these days probably caused by climate change. How do you see? I think the question I’m really asking, do you think we as a global scholarly community are smart enough also a global society with other stakeholders in the boat are smart enough to utilize these opportunities to our very own benefit and other creatures? Yeah. So it’s interesting because when I worked at the National Academies, there was actually studies done on how do you do studies? Right. How can you bubble up or across the best advice. So the National Academy of the United States is Chartered by Congress to provide advice to Congress. But Academy also provides advice to a host of other organizations. And the question always was, who is the best suited to sit in a room or whatever and figure out what should be done to answer some of these questions. Right. So there’s always that in saying who do you invite on to the committee? Who do you invite to talk to the committee? One of the committees I helped form was usually committees are about twelve people. We did a study on women academia, which was like exactly what I always wanted to do. And doing it at the academies means people are going to read it and pay attention. And Donna Shalela, if you know who she is, used to be head of health and human services, President of University. She is a really amazing person. Got together and we did she was the chair, and we had a committee that was eleven of the twelve people were women, which is unheard of academies. Usually it’s all men and one woman. Right. And these women were presidents of universities. Heads of corporations have made it. Right. And that was the big deal about the report. Oh, my God. How can you have all women or almost all women on your panel in 19 whenever that went, what is it, 2006? This was a big deal. Right. And so I look at this and say, who did we invite to the table? And then who am I to be the person inviting people to the table? Right. There’s another paper I wrote just recently with Laura Pagleon and Heather Flanagan, actually, on how do we develop trusted infrastructure. And Laura has this really great line in there about experts doing expert things. Right. And I think this has a lot to do with pandemic and how different communities have responded to and managed pandemic is if you just have researchers or academics in a room, you are missing a lot of other perspectives and contexts. And it’s very difficult to understand what those are, to integrate those into the solutions that you might develop. And I think it can look, quote, unquote, elitist, if you just have one group of people coming up with a solution for everybody. So I do think that academics, because of the deep work that academics do, they have to be involved in thinking through and coming up with approaches and solutions. Right. I think you also need somebody with a researcher type and entrepreneurship type approach as well, realizing that we’re never going to have perfect information and we need to take this iterative approach to solving problems. We also need the other stakeholders and affected parties in those conversations. And we need to find ways to make those conversation spaces happen. Coming back to what we talked about, the beginning. Right. How do you enable both that invitation? Well, not just both. The invitation, the respect right. Across these different groups, as well as the trust building that’s necessary. And as I said, that takes time. And when you’re in a pandemic, like what you don’t feel like you have is time. You don’t feel like you have the time to do that. And so then what happens is you have these in groups talking to each other, trying to come up with the solution. And this in group comes up with their solution. And then there’s another in group that comes up with their solution and on and on. And it’s like a whole bunch of sports teams that are all out there fighting with the other sports team and can’t possibly agree that these sports teams both have something good to bring to the pitch. And I think that has caused more time and energy trying to undo that than if we had taken the time at the beginning to build those communities and bring all of the experts together to try to figure out, okay, here’s what we think is going on. How can we work together all together to come up with some solutions to these problems that we see? And that’s a big part of what I’m working on now is to kind of say here’s all of this work that I’ve been engaged with in the past, building communities, building communities of practice, bringing together stakeholders, trying to understand who the stakeholders are, continuing to add on to that, and then creating those found families and finding ways to develop respect, sometimes failing learning and trying again to bring people together, not even at a table, just bring people together to have these conversations.

Participant #1:
Yeah. And it’s hard work, but it’s really I learned a lot and I love it. I absolutely love it. I think what you described just now is the typical research workflow have a theory of most work. Like this person says, try didn’t turn out quite a as I expected. Okay, let’s try again once more. Five times more. Ten times more. It still didn’t work. And then you get it right. Or you think you get it right once. Okay. How did I manage then? You tried to replicate like, yes, I know. You’re just like, right. If you invite others to the table who have a different viewpoint, they might be able to point out the mistakes and the best practices earlier in the process. What I learned as a scuba diver, I thought that career would never end, but I paused it anyway. That’s a drama in my lifetime. But to be resumed. So what you learn on the water is if you panic and then try and find a solution out of panic mode, you probably die. Right. So what you need to do is actually stop whatever you’re doing, stop it, and then breathe secondly, and then think and only then as a fourth or fifth step act. No, it was funny. It reminds me of when I was in grad school. One of the people in the lab next door to mine was he was really good at just saying, Lori, take a breath. And I love that he did that because he didn’t just say breathe. He breathed. And then his act of breathing and saying breathe kind of slows you down a little bit and get you to breathe to do exactly what you said. It’s difficult to think if you’re hyperventilating and just take a little bit of time. It’s interesting, kind of also looking at kind of building communities and even the differences between working in the United States and working in Europe. Very different approaches. Where the United States like action, action, action all the time. Right. And when you’re working in Europe, it’s much more stakeholder building, understanding. It feels more consensus driven than the United States does. The United States feels more experimental and willing to make mistakes. Right. But then you’re going to make some mistakes where Europe feels much more. We’re going to get this right before we launch anything. So it’s like the speed of action and the methodology of action is different and then getting into different types of communities, thinking about who talks when it is also interesting, who sits where paying attention to those existing community positions, all of that present. Right. So when I work in the United States, I inherently know that because I know it. But then when I start moving into communities where they aren’t late, they didn’t grow up in the suburbs, it’s really me having to take that breath and pay more attention to how do these communities knit and this community knit together? But also how can we bring different communities together? And again, coming back to that, how can we show respect for each other? And how can we tell each other how to show respect for each other in these rooms without having to repeat over and over again or without one group coming in assuming that everyone else knows how to deal with them? Right. So explicit at the beginning with this, this is what I need to be able to participate in a conversation. It’s fun and hard. Yeah. Like one attitude we’re trying to change with Africa archive is also the assumption of those who are underprivileged have only the learning seat to take instead of being at the table to contribute just as much as those who are privileged and come with all the equipment and the money. Well, I feel like from my observations, the bottleneck is really the time scale or the time pressure to accomplish a project within a certain time frame. And there’s hardly enough time or willingness from some of the stakeholders to sit and listen. How do you do research with the equipment and the challenges and opportunities that you have in your research environment? And how can we make best possible use to first learn from each other and then utilize the materials that we now have an opportunity to bring into this project, to learn together and maybe also redistribute budget items because there’s a learning curve on both ends.

Participant #1:
I’ve also heard African colleagues who are being told or also think, oh, they’re partners with the money and we have so much to learn from them, not realizing on what kind of a treasure box of knowledge and experience they’re sitting and also being trying to unleash that or to put it on the table and presented proudly or self conscious and self aware

Participant #1:
as their ownership that they contribute to the project

Participant #1:
is for once a week for that. And also what you explained in your approach for collaboration and respect for each other and readiness to listen and learn from each other and then balancing what’s available as knowledge, as access to the regional context or experiences and then create something that’s the essence of a project. Right. Create something together to solve. Yeah. And I think one of the challenges you talked about, shy or shyness, I think in working with Indigenous communities right now, the local context project is also this in some ways unwillingness to come to the table on the part of some of the Indigenous communities because their work has been taken, appropriated, even in the act of a researcher coming into a community. That the way that intellectual property works. Right. Is the researcher who collects the information, owns it. Right. And this to me in my head in a very simplistic it feels a lot like what motivated me in what I talked about earlier with Orchid is this idea that the Pi gets all the credit for something. But there’s so many other components of this project that made it possible. And so I think it’s going to be difficult. I guess what I was hoping with Orchid was that it would be part of that respect equation because people are attributed for the components of the project. People and organizations are attributed for the components of the project that they contributed. Right. And that was actually one of the questions that got me so interested in kind of this next phase of work that I’m doing is somebody came to me and said Glory, Orchid is all for people, individuals. What about communities? What about communities that produce something? How would Orchid handle that? And I’m like work. It does individuals. Right. But in some communities, the concept of individual doesn’t really exist. The community is more important than the individual. And I’m like, oh, thought about it that way. And so that gets into how then is that manage? But it comes back to your statement about how can we get people to come together on an equal footing or on at least an equal respect footing. And that there’s that equity component, equity of access that you’ve been working on with that archive, but also that equity of attribution, equity of ownership, equity of kind of that intellectual property component which says I’m at the table, what I have done is seen as worthy by everyone, and it can’t be taken from me. People know that I did this, my community did this. This is our contribution, I think until we can get to that point where contribution is acknowledged. Right. I don’t think we can get to a way we can have respectful collaboration. And I think to your other point of the time, and what we’ve been talking about with time is that we have to make the time for this because we do as a society, as a global community, have some grand challenges. Right. It’s not how to make more tasty flavor dumb. Right. We’re dealing with some pretty serious issues here of how our humans going to continue to exist on the planet. Do we care? Right. Maybe we don’t care, but I’m saying that. But that is the crux of this. How are humans going to continue to exist? And there’s so many parts of that may have to do with climate, it may have to do with pollution, it may have to do with population, blah, blah, blah, access to food, so many dimensions of that. But I think at the core of it is this question of do we care if humans continue as a species on the planet? And if we do, then we need to make the time to treat each other each as humans. Right. We all are on the ground here and trying to figure out how to live, and we all need to be part of this conversation.

Participant #1:
Yeah. I had this image when you talked about self identity versus collective identity. Well, these are the worst. And I was imagining visiting a tree in a forest, and then as it often happens, the forest being cut down and then one tree being left all by its own, quite often on agricultural context. And what’s worth of that one tree when we think about oxygen production for the synthesis and also biodiversity and what not? I think that’s also what I learned from engaging with Indigenous communities and Indigenous representatives. First of all, it’s about basic human rights for existence and also about collective ownership in the sense of collective ownership. How Indigenous communities, when they hear about copyrights and individual rights and individual ownership, why? How does that make sense? They really struggle with understanding that concept because we’re part of a community as humans with each other and also as components of nature, whatever. Like not the publisher, the system.

Participant #1:
Yeah. And I think what you really also contribute magnificently to the arcade is again laying the foundation for a system to identify that the neighbors and interconnected network for knowledge dissemination and accumulation and distribution so that everybody on the planet first researchers, but not only researchers or other stakeholders can tap into of what we as researchers produce as knowledge and build up on each other’s achievements for whatever purpose. And each course that I give as a trainer for early career researchers, I started asking them at some point, why did you become a researcher? And oftentimes their response, things like, oh, I’m naturally curious, and this is a profession that enables me to pursue that. But many people actually started a career to change the world, to the better and one or the other aspects. And some just want to do basic research and there’s room for everyone. And everybody’s contribution is valuable. I really think the majority is here for a purpose in this career, and then they lose it. Like the second and third PhD students have to think hard to remember why they started this journey, finding themself in a system that’s not healthy, really, or has become more and more challenging. Yeah. Where am I getting with this? But now, okay, it’s not a hash twist, but maybe like to round it all up now with your current stage of your career, you’ve built something that you shared with me reflects what you’re really here for, possibly to leave as a legacy or to also. I mean, we’re not here to leave anything just yet, but which combines the experiences you’ve made, many of which you’ve shared with us and now enabling others and facilitating organizations and a multitude of stakeholders for projects with Mighty Red Barn, bringing together that expertise that you’ve built as an individual and all these various career stages that you’ve described. Yeah. I’m going to reflect on one thing that I’ve been like, I’m trying to figure out how to put this in, but it’s this idea. Like at Orchid, one of the questions I was asked over and over and over again is how many researchers are there in the world? And one of the things Orchid specifically did not do or intentionally did not do was to not define researcher. Okay. That’s interesting. We said anyone who feels that they would benefit from having this identifier that is researcher in some way. It could be the research data librarian. It could be somebody in the Grant’s office. It could be somebody working at the bench. It could be somebody collecting in the field. It could be anybody who feels that they’re part of the research community. And however you want to define that, you could get a research rating. We did not put a questionnaire saying you qualify for this. And so that question of how many are there. And so last year, I had the opportunity to work with a colleague of mine that I actually worked with when I was at the academies and then subsequently on some work at the NIH. One of the big projects we did was looking at who gets grants. Right. And is there a difference in whether or not you are awarded a grant at the NIH based on race, ethnicity, or gender? Right. So this is one of these Laurie’s troublemaker kind of projects, because who wants to even ask that question. Right. Nih was willing to ask that question. I mean, it was a difficult one. Right. And at the time, Reynold Kingdom was the acting director, and he was like, I want the answer to this question. And I put some money behind the project. And I had the absolute pleasure of being the project director on this and found out that there actually was a serious difference between the number of African Americans in the Blacks that get awarded research grants than whites. Right. A very substantial difference. And then subsequent years and trying to figure out why is that the case? But the fact that NIH put the money into it and then set up some processes and experiments after that paper came out to say, okay, we’ve got a problem here. How are we going to address it? That is one of the high points of my career, is doing that work. Right. Anyway, I’m back working with Don again, sir. And the question this time was how many researchers are there in the world? Right. Well, how do you define researcher? Now you’ve got to actually define what this means and then figure out how are we going to collect the data. Right. That has been a really fun project to work on and depending on how you define researchers. Right. It’s somewhere between I think we decided it was somewhere between 25 million and 90 million.

Participant #1:
Right. And then you look at, for example, what has been happening at OECD and UNESCO. Right. They have the For Scotty manual that defines all kinds of different terms. Right. Who’s at the table. And in the 2015 time frame, the definition of a researcher changed to be much more inclusive. So it wasn’t just somebody who has a master’s or a PhD who is doing this kind of work. It became people who are contributing to our store of knowledge. And so now you can have traditional knowledge folks coming in who may not have academic education but are certainly part of knowledge generation in this world that we live in. And that really made me happy. Right. To see that work, that definition is out there for us to be able to encompass all of the people that are part of understanding the world around us. Right. The next big part is how can these folks be counted, be included in what we’re counting. Right. Even that 90 million figure that we came up with, we cannot access traditional knowledge in the UNESCO databases yet. Right. We’re still looking at who works in a job that has some research component in it. That’s kind of the way we went about looking at this or who has a PhD or master’s degree. That 90 million doesn’t include a lot of people. So you think about that and go that’s a big chunk of people on this planet that could be and should be part of how we try to understand what is going on and how to start addressing creating these experiments to address our societal challenge rather than one solution. There’s going to be many solutions that are context dependent and that can be woven together through these communities. So I just love it working on this. And there’s always this beginning part that time and the pain of setting up communities and getting people to talk to each other. I said it wants to say it’s really difficult to do, but it is absolutely necessary. And for folks like me and the entrepreneur side of things who love to deal with uncertainty, there are some great aspects of that kind of bringing all these pieces together and trying to see if we can get some pieces to stick. But also this pain of the time, I don’t deal well. People have heard me say many times, I’m impatient. I get bored really easily. So this is a learning growth area for me. I love building, bringing people together. But it’s not even a maintenance phase. It’s like this blue phase of getting this community to a place where it can work together is exciting, hard. And I know it needs to be done. So I do it. But it’s definitely not easy. But it’s so fruitful when it works. Yeah. I think it requires a lot of fostering, really, like pampering and studying with a small group of people and inviting and reinviting them back to the table until they can start working on their own and be a community on their own. Exactly right. And I think that’s that piece. Right. Of saying as an entrepreneur, you have, and as the person who’s been in these parts of the community, you can use those networks and entrepreneurial skills to bring folks together, bring that excitement in there. But then that piece, you said at some point that entrepreneurial component, me being impatient, I’m not so helpful to that community anymore because my impatience can overwhelm the work that they need to do to generate respect. So I need to step away. And there have been multiple cases in my career where I’ve got to that point said, okay, my work here is done. The community is working, and there are other people with different skill sets that come in who are already there as part of that community to bring these help support these communities into the next phase. And I think that’s also a big chunk of understanding yourself. And with what I’m doing at Mighty Red Barn is also saying, this is who I know I am. This is the piece that I can contribute and just really happy. And I feel it’s just a luxury to be able to do this work for me.

Participant #1:
Yeah. That’s great to hear. And sorry for the park. I think it’s also looking at the time to come to a close. Would you like to share a few sentences, if that’s enough. And we can, as mentioned, very well dive into other episodes in the future. But just to close the circle of this conversation into the Mighty Red Barn, to also pitch or explain to the audience why you created and how you created and might rip on sourcing from all your experiences so far. Yeah. Where in departing from Orchid, it was taking exactly what we were just talking about. This idea that my role there was building. I saw my role there is building the organization, getting it to a point with the community and with itself of financial stability and kind of community stability. Right. So it could survive on its own. It didn’t need me anymore. And I saw my role then as saying, okay, what is my next thing that I can contribute? And this is where Mighty Red Barn came from is I am that person who helps at the beginning phase or at a transitional phase in an organization. So it could be a new start up. It could be an existing organization that is realizing it needs to make a shift. Right. And I can come in and help build communities to help understand what the community needs, what should be built, how it can be built. Building communities practice to actually use this thing that’s being built, help building teams. So I guess you could almost call it product strategy is really what I work on. So it’s that initial phase of understanding community need. And what is it that this organization can do to service the community? And then how long this organization needs to be doing this thing if it becomes a community organization itself, how long the entrepreneurs stay there, or if that organization is really in it for the long term, what does that look like? And how does this thing sustain over time? So that’s what I do. I’m doing some work with professional societies right now. I have done that paper I just mentioned with Donna. So there’s some research components I have work I’m doing with local context on thinking through the business model for the hub that they’re developing that enables museums and Indigenous communities to interact and label what’s in these collections with appropriate kind of licenses, nonlegal licenses from the Indigenous communities to help with this Indigenous data governance component. So a lot of these, like you said, sociotech pieces, right, where there’s a technical thing that’s being built as part of a solution to an ongoing challenge of communities working together and using that tech as a way to enable or it’s a lightning Rod almost for conversations. So that’s what I’m doing. I’ve been doing this for about 18 months and really enjoying it and looking forward to finding other opportunities and working with other communities on these kind of lightning Rod change projects, essentially. Thank you. Okay, so the website for my advantage is Mighty one word. So please check it out. What’s left for me is thank you very much for sharing your stories, really multiple thereof with us. And whenever there’s a new project, a new paper out and you have to close, let’s talk about it. I’m curious to see what’s next on your timeline and let’s keep up the conversation. Thank you, Joe. Thank you for the opportunity. And I felt a good conversation. So I really enjoy hearing your perspectives and your experiences as well. So. Thanks for sharing. Thank you.