Tuesday, 8 February 2011

It's not about us, it's about you

As Jason mentioned in his blog post last week, we have a number of NGS user case studies on our website and the number is growing.

The user case studies are a collaboration between the user and myself as the NGS Liaison Officer. I work with the user to produce a short case study outlining their research, how they use the NGS and (rather importantly) the benefits that the NGS has brought them.

I also work with users to make their research more accessible to the wider NGS community which can be pretty difficult given the very specialised nature of some of the research performed on the NGS!

Most of the user case studies come about through users volunteering to write a case study, mainly through our annual user survey. For example this year I had 31 users who volunteered to produce a user case study - a rather large increase in last years number!

I hope the increase has come about through people realising the benefits of advertising their research to the wider community and not just so they can tick a box on their final project report! I have found that the most enthusiastic communicators tend to be PhD students which bodes well for the future of science communication.

The user case studies don't just stay on our website. With over 2000 hits since they were placed on the website, they are picked up by other dissemination teams UK and Europe wide. Quite a few of our case studies have been picked up by iSGTW which has 7300 subscribers and many more unique visitors to their website (over 125,000 at the last count!). EGI have also became interested in our case studies and are looking to produce something similar for their own project.

And it's not just within e-science / grid / e-infrastructure organisations that the case studies are picked up. Hardly an issue of Scientific Computing World goes by without me getting the NGS mentioned in there courtesy of one of our user's research being featured! I am often asked by editors if I know of anyone researching X or Y and, thanks in no small part to the user case studies and the NGS Communities service, I can usually track someone down! SCW is free to read online and you can subscribe to a free printed copy as well.

The latest NGS user case study has recently been put on our website - Simulating carbon nanotubules on the NGS by Rebeca Garcia Fandino at the University of Oxford. Watch this space for more new case studies coming soon!

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