Interviews with the COPIM team about their experiences of working remotely while building major pieces of infrastructure together over the last three years.
Janneke Adema, a member of Work Package 1, Work Package 4, and Work Package 6, is interviewed about her experience working remotely while building major pieces of infrastructure at the COPIM project over the last three years.
The COPIM team talks with Janneke Adema, a member of Work Package 1, Work Package 4, and Work Package 6, about her experience working remotely while building major pieces of infrastructure over the last three years.
Where are you based? How did you become involved with the COPIM Project?
I live in Hereford in the UK and work at Coventry University, in Coventry (UK). I am the Co-Pi on the COPIM project and also oversee its WPs on Community Governance and Experimental Publishing and Reuse.
What are the three most important things that have enabled you to work remotely on COPIM?
The open source tools and platforms that we use on the COPIM project have been essential (Big Blue Button, Jitsi, Edumeet) as well as having all our documents etc. in one place on NextCloud.
We were already set up to meet mostly remotely due to the international nature of the project (timezone differences etc.)
The willingness of everyone involved in COPIM to make this work, especially also around redesigning and rethinking our workshops and conferences to work in an online format, and then actually exploiting this to our advantage from there (we reached much more people in the end by doing our workshops/events online)
What are the advantages and disadvantages of this way of working?
Saves money (otherwise spend on commuting and food bought when commuting)
Better for the environment ;)
For more introverted people online events etc. have provided opportunities to interact in a different way: via chat etc.
Can be lonely
Work and life barriers/balance start to disappear
Lots of evening meetings (not the best for a morning person)
International travel has always been one of the perks of the job for me. Without this I am not sure I would want to be in academia long-term to be hones!
Missing out on serendipitous meetings and connections at conferences and events
The social aspects of IRL events, drinks, dinners, conversations (online zoom drinks were really only a thing for a short while….)
Online conferences now have completely turned into things you just rock up for your own session for (its almost like online streaming killing the record ;))
Has remote working resulted in anything unexpected, or that wouldn’t have happened without it?
It mainly enabled me to present my work in locations/to communities that I wouldn’t have otherwise (for example in Mexico and the US) because of the costs that would have otherwise been involved in flying me over. There is less of a cost barrier in this respect to invite speakers. That being said, in my experience it has also become more common to pay speakers for online talks they give (probably to make up for the fact that they aren’t wined and dined? But I am also suspecting the American model of always paying academic speakers is slowly becoming more common in the UK and Europe too).
Has it prevented you from doing anything important? How did you work around that?
Travel the world, which I really enjoy, I am of course aware of the issues international flights pose for climate change, but from a personal perspective I already travel everywhere by bike and train/public transport (I don’t drive), I don’t have children, I am a vegetarian/semi-vegan, and use as little plastic as possible. Also, wherever possible I try to travel internationally per train and public transport. It is important for me to travel and see the world though so I kind of justify it to myself in this way. I am also an immigrant in the UK and my family live in the Netherlands, so it is essential to me to travel home now and then to see them (and for that the train connections are not ideal). I also always try to combine my international holidays with work travel to limit the amounts of flying I do. So I think from my perspective I do recognise the issues with traveling internationally for work, but I also think it is important to meet up face-to-face with people now and then and to engage with different cultures and environments than one’s own.
COPIM-wise, I have missed seeing some everyone involved socially too, especially also the people I work with most closely on the project. We have set up the COPIM social online (amazingly run and enabled by Toby)| previously, which I really enjoyed and regularly attended but that has fizzled out a bit once people went back into working at offices again (eventhough we do still have several COPIM members who are still shielding or are high risk, so this makes things a bit complicated again as for many of us the pandemic is far from over of course).
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