Post Doc Position: Computer Sciences (or closely related discipline)

The Cooperation Databank Project

This is an ambitious multidisciplinary project that combines philosophy of science with computer science in an effort to improve how people practice science. Scientists often use search engines to find research papers relevant to their own research (e.g. google scholar). The search output is a list of relevant papers and then scientists read each relevant paper to generate conclusions about specific research topics, which are then cited in their own research. This project uses philosophy of science to transform the process by which researchers search, retrieve, and use scientific research so that researchers can make more valid inferences about an area of research and better design their own research projects. More specifically, this project will innovate a method of storing and retrieving scientific research in a way that utilizes state-of-the-art methods of aggregating quantitative information across studies – meta-analysis. To our knowledge, this is the first project in the social sciences that would link the storage of scientific research findings to the state-of-the-art methods used to aggregate research findings. We will use one of the most mature, standardized, experimental research topics in the social sciences as a test-bed to develop this method: Cooperation in social dilemmas.

Cooperation is essential for mitigating conflict between individual and collective interests in relationships and groups, such as providing public goods and conserving resources. Over 70 years of research testing psychological and economic theory of cooperation has applied a highly specific experimental method (e.g., the prisoner’s dilemma) to study cooperation. To date, there exist thousands of independent studies on cooperation using the same method. We are currently in the process of searching and coding the entire history of research on cooperation. These data will provide the basis to innovate the storage and retrieval methods that will enable researchers to conduct their own meta-analyses.

We are searching to fill a two-year, full time, research-oriented Post Doc with a PhD in computer sciences (or closely related discipline) to work with us in innovating an open access database to store and retrieve scientific findings on cooperation. Expertise in data modelling is desired. We hope that the candidate can help us build a conceptual schema of the databank and hopefully also have the skills required to implement the technical aspect too. The Post Doc would be first author, in collaboration with the P.I., on writing several international peer-reviewed publications about this new method of storing research findings, and how this method can promote scientific progress. The P.I. has received an ERC Starting Grant for this project (1.5 million euros) and in addition there is a budget for travel to international conferences.

P.I.: Dr. Daniel Balliet

Requirements

  • PhD in Computer Sciences or closely related discipline;
  • Expertise and skills in Data Modelling
  • Excellent knowledge of computer programming and managing a large database;
  • Good Knowledge of statistical software (R) is an advantage
  • Excellent command of written and spoken English;

Salary
The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel, and depending on experience, range from a minimum of € 3475,- gross per month up to a maximum of € 4757,- gross per month, (salary scale 11) based on a fulltime employment. The position will also include additional funding for conducting research and travelling to conferences.

For additional information please contact: Dr. Daniel Balliet, e-Mail: d.p.balliet(at)vu.nl

Applicants are requested to send:

  • a motivation letter stating their experience and their interest in the project;
  • a curriculum vitae;
  • graduate level academic transcripts;
  • one or two published papers