What is a Data Scientist?

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Is a Data Scientist defined by what they do or by what they have done?  JISC defines a Data Scientist as “people who work where the research is carried out – or, in the case of data centre personnel, in close collaboration with the creators of the data – and may be involved in creative enquiry and analysis, enabling others to work with digital data, and developments in data base technology“.  Hmm Ok but what does that mean?  A new breast cancer study BCEES being conducted by WAIMR at UWA is piloting the concept of a Data Scientist and hopes to measure cost-effectiveness of using eResearch tools.  Due to the difficulty in finding people and cases with past experiences in these matters, the approach is very much based on trial and error.   The whole process needs to remain quite fluid so that time isn’t wasted in integrating a tools that ultimately will not be cost-effective.  To maintain this fluidity agile development methodologies have been borrowed from the software development environment and the piloting is being performed in two week iterations.  The first 3 months have seen some positive results and I am looking forward to continuing the experiment.

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