Library Data Scientist

Pennsylvania, United States
23 Jun 2020
End of advertisement period
23 Aug 2020
Contract Type
Full Time

University Overview

The University of Pennsylvania, the largest private employer in Philadelphia, is a world-renowned leader in education, research, and innovation. This historic, Ivy League school consistently ranks among the top 10 universities in the annual U.S. News & World Report survey. Penn has 12 highly-regarded schools that provide opportunities for undergraduate, graduate and continuing education, all influenced by Penn’s distinctive interdisciplinary approach to scholarship and learning.

Penn offers a unique working environment within the city of Philadelphia. The University is situated on a beautiful urban campus, with easy access to a range of educational, cultural, and recreational activities. With its historical significance and landmarks, lively cultural offerings, and wide variety of atmospheres, Philadelphia is the perfect place to call home for work and play.

The University offers a competitive benefits package that includes excellent healthcare and tuition benefits for employees and their families, generous retirement benefits, a wide variety of professional development opportunities, supportive work and family benefits, a wealth of health and wellness programs and resources, and much more.

Job Description Summary

The Penn Libraries seeks a creative and energetic data scientist to join the Libraries program of assessment and impact analysis. The Library Data Scientist uses various forms of library-related transactional data, metadata, and quantifiable information to develop,  test and implement research hypotheses, predictive models, and field studies useful to decision systems, strategic planning, service design, resource allocation and actionable business intelligence.

Job Description

The work of the Data Scientist is directed by the following goals:

  • To bettering Library services through the enhanced understanding of user interest and learning needs, the characteristics of academic workflows, study habits, and research behaviors, human and computer interaction, changing pedagogical practice, and emerging strategic needs and opportunities within the academy;  
  • To create, contribute to, and promote best practices in the field of assessment and in the management, use, reuse and sustainability of data;
  • To advance the study of new, relevant library metrics;
  • To support data-centered collaborations with peer institutions and partners, particularly the Ivy Plus Library Confederation, and with campus stakeholders within the Provost’s circle, among the Schools, and the Office of Institutional Research and Analysis;
  • To help inform practice and organizational norms regarding data ethics and foster trust with Library users as regards personal privacy, security, and academic freedom;  and
  • To support staff education in and appreciation of data-driven management and the ethical implications of applied research based on user-generated data, fostering thereby the development of assessment culture.


The position will include the following duties and expectations:

  • Contribution to and leading research and development projects related to library data analysis, metrics, and privacy protection.
  • Project coordination and project management duties relevant to research initiatives.
  • Collaborating with units across the Libraries in library-related data collection activities.  
  • Teach and consult within the Libraries supporting an emphasis on best practices in data governance and use in research, and also as an aspect of the design of automated assessment tools.  
  • Design and oversee creation of, and analyze Library datasets (such as collection use, researcher activity, copyright, and linked bibliographic data).  
  • Collaborate with University staff, Ivy Plus partners, the ARL Assessment Community, and vendors in sharing resources and expertise that advance the Libraries’ and University’s interests in analytics.
  • Liaise with University Privacy Officers to share and implement best practices around patron-related data.  
  • Provide data management and statistical expertise, including:
  • Managing, analyzing, and interpreting data collected from transactional systems, administrative databases, catalog systems, citation and indexing databases, researcher activity systems, bibliometric and rights databases, surveys, and other data sources;
  • Applying statistical methods in support of decision-making relevant to services, and strategic planning;
  • Conducting primary and secondary analyses of existing databases;
  • Evaluating the reliability of source information; designing and implementing data cleaning workflows; and contributing to data governance by defining reporting requirements, data structures, and formats and other features of data necessary for analysis; and
  • Sharing research findings through presentations and publications.
  • Qualifications
  • Masters degree in the Social Sciences or a related field, with advanced training in applied statistics or equivalent experience preferred.  A PhD and either a masters relevant to work in an academic library or 2-3 years relevant experience in an academic library desirable.  
  • Knowledge of R, Python, SQL, and/or similar languages for data analysis.

Preferred: Advanced knowledge of scripting and markup languages that could additionally be used for incorporating analyses into web front- and back-end technologies, such as HTML5 and javascript.

Preferred: Demonstrated teaching or staff-mentoring experience in topics relating to data analysis and scientific programming. A record of relevant publication desirable.

*** Please include a resume and cover letter as one attachment when applying***

Job Location - City, State

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Department / School

University Library

Pay Range

$59,703.00 - $168,837.00

Affirmative Action Statement

Penn adheres to a policy that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected class.

Special Requirements

Background check required after a conditional job offer is made. Consideration of the background check will be tailored to the requirements of the job.

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