Internship with the AEA Data Editor

Published:

The AEA Data Editor is happy to announce a pilot project for an internship with the AEA Data Editor. The collaborating institutions are Cornell University (AEA Data Editor), Wellesley College, Haverford College, University of Notre Dame, and University of Colorado Boulder.

NOTE: Interns cannot apply independently at this time. If you are a student at one of the above institutions, please contact the local organizer.

The internship will be a 10-12 week, part-time (20 hours per week) paid position.

Goal: Ensure that supplementary materials for articles in a journal with a replication policy are (a) accessible (b) reproduce the intended results, (c) document results and findings.

Work description: The American Economic Association (AEA) monitors compliance with its Data and Code Availability Policy, under the leadership of the AEA Data Editor. LDI Replication Lab members will access pre-publication materials provided by authors, and assess how well these materials reproduce the results published in the manuscript or article. The provided materials and instructions will be assessed using a checklist. Authors’ instructions will be followed (if possible), and success or failure to (i) perform the analysis (ii) replicate the authors’ results will be documented. Other related activities, such as literature search or tabulation of results, may also be assigned. Team work is encouraged, and activity will be supervised by graduate student or faculty member. Team members must be at ease working in various computer environments (Windows Remote Desktop, local laptops) and software tools (statistical software, Git).

Examples of replication packages in economics can be found at the AEA Data and Code Repository.

What interns will learn: Interns will learn and observe parts of the scientific publication process. They will learn and practice the details of the process of reproducibility checking, and will experience the challenges of ensuring that data and code are available and functional. At the end of their internship, they will have run and learned to debug code for multiple papers (typically around 5-6), reviewed output, prepared reports which will be read by senior economists throughout the world (after review by the Data Editor). They may encounter and learn about novel software and data sources, as well as how to run code on multiple platforms, including powerful Windows and Linux servers.

While the internship is new, the LDI Lab has been training undergraduate replicators for the past 6 years, and has employed more than 175 students. Students report that the experience is valuable in their future careers, including in the private sector, government, and as graduate students in academia.

Internship experience: While interns will be working remotely, they will be part of a team of interns and regular (undergraduate) staff in the LDI Replication Lab, meeting at least twice a week. They will be mentored by academic staff at their own institution as well. They will have the opportunity to interact with other interns and staff, and to learn from each other. They will also have the opportunity to interact regularly with the AEA Data Editor and his staff.

Required Qualifications/Skills/Experience: Some experience with empirical social science data analysis using statistical software is required. Knowledge of at least one of Stata, Matlab, R or SAS is required, as is familiarity with the Windows Desktop environment. Experience with Git and the command line (Linux, Mac, or Powershell) are assets. Applicants must be current students at a participating institution, residing in the United States.

Start and end dates: The internship will broadly start after institution-specific final exams over, and thus vary, but broadly, the internship will take place between mid-May and mid-August, for 10-12 weeks (depends on the institution).

Requirements: Training is required as a condition of hiring. While employed, attendance (via Zoom) at two weekly meetings is required. Training will take place on Saturday, April 6, 2024 in person, and on several subsequent days (TBD) remotely. Live attendance is expected, plus some significant self-paced work.

Once training is completed, trainees will transition to the actual “replicator” activity.

Remuneration: An hourly rate commensurate with experience will be offered. Starting wage is $15.25 per hour, up to 10 hours per week while in session; up to 20 hours per week during the summer.