RTD TIG Week: Finding a Needle in a Stack of Needles by Gavin Reddick

Hi, my name is Gavin Reddick and I am the program co-chair for the Research, Technology, and Development TIG. I am the chief analyst for Researchfish, a company that helps organisations to understand the outputs, outcomes and impact of their research. As a result of this I spend a lot of time looking at, and analysing the research of others, often as part of a program or portfolio evaluation.  I thought that I’d write some thoughts on how people make it easier understand to find and understand their research. 

Lesson Learned – Open Access is Good Access

If you’re outside of a university setting (or even in many universities) I’m sure you know how expensive/frustrating it can be to try to read publications from behind a paywall. Open Access is too big a topic for here, but I am much more likely to read and use research that is freely available. Quite a lot of work that I do can’t be shared by me but if it can be shared but when it can I should be better about making it freely available. It’s not like everything I do is ground-breaking, but I would like you to read it, use it if it is helpful to you, and, ideally, help me improve what I do in the future. I’d also like to do the same for you so please share your own research and data if you can.

Lesson Learned – Metadata Matters

It’s not enough to put a file on a website and think that other people will find it. Many organisations have been doing a tremendous amount to make information easier to discover and understand how it all links together. Making sure that my paper, presentation, or data has a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), I use my ORCID to uniquely identify me as an author, and spend a couple of extra minutes to explain what my work is in a structured way makes it massively more discoverable and usable than putting it on a personal website. 

Lesson Learned – Evaluators can Help Each Other

As a community, evaluators are very much open to sharing and helping others and AEA brings together people from a wide range of backgrounds and countries to help facilitate this. I’ve learned a great deal from reading articles and attending presentations but I know that there is so much more that I’m missing out on. Compared to other fields it can be more challenging to e.g. find a paper, poster, or slides for a talk I wasn’t able to attend or didn’t know was happening. If we could do more to make this easier we could find out we’ve all been missing out on and move us all forward as a community.


The American Evaluation Association is celebrating RTD TIG Week with our colleagues in the Research Technology and Development TIG. All of the blog contributions this week come from our RTD TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

1 thought on “RTD TIG Week: Finding a Needle in a Stack of Needles by Gavin Reddick”

  1. Gavin, I appreciate your commitment to the accessibility of information. It strikes me the paywall issue is a limitation of our system that we will have to live with, however, I hope more people take your advice and make their findings accessible and searchable online. Sharing is in our collective best interest and when we limit access, we risk limiting the range, reach, diversity and impact of information.

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