• Member Announcement
  • June 28, 2017

AEA Member Announcements: New AEA Data Editor Position ‒ Request for Nominations (June 28, 2017)

June 28, 2017

To: Members of the American Economic Association
From: Peter L. Rousseau, Secretary-Treasurer
New AEA Data Editor Position ‒ Request for Nominations

The American Economic Association seeks nominations for a new Data Editor to design and oversee its journals’ strategy for curating research data and promoting reproducible research.

Job Description:

The AEA journals were early leaders in requiring posting of data and code used for published papers. This has enhanced research transparency and reproducibility, and the data collection has been a valuable resource. Many other journals in economics have now emulated the AEA data availability policy. 

At the same time, the AEA believes the current system could be improved. For example:

  • Data are sometimes incomplete and often difficult for re-use by a third party.
  • Many papers use proprietary data for which there are restrictions on posting, and are exempt from the policy. This could be improved by: (i) systematically tracking proprietary data sets and the associated data use agreements; (ii) making sure posted code is sufficient to replicate the results once a researcher obtains access to the data; (iii) giving authors stronger incentives to get permission to share data.
  • Posted code often does not run or does not actually replicate the results.
  • Authors often post only the final processed data but not code, steps, or provenance of the data.
  • Documentation is often incomplete or unclear.
  • Current data security and privacy protections for data may not be sufficiently strong.

More broadly, best practices for reproducible research have been advancing rapidly. The AEA believes this is a pivotal moment for the profession to remain at the forefront of this movement and adopt best practices that will strengthen the credibility of economic research in the years to come. The AEA is committed to have the AEA journals play a leadership role in this effort. 

The duties of the Data Editor will be to:

  • Design, in collaboration with the AEA journal editors and the AEA Executive Committee, a comprehensive strategy for archiving and promoting the curation of data and code that guarantees to the extent possible reproducibility of research and addresses the challenges above.
  • Determine the staff and computing resources necessary to implement the strategy.
  • Oversee the hiring of staff and implementation of the new policy.

The Data Editor must be an established leader in quantitative research, with a PhD in economics, data science or a related field and extensive experience relevant to the duties above. Ideally, the editor would have both editorial experience and research experience with government administrative, commercial or other proprietary data. We expect that the Data Editor will retain their current affiliation, and that the time required for this position will be broadly similar to that of other Editor and Co-Editor positions at AEA journals. The Editor will report to the AEA Executive Committee.

Please send nominations, including self-nominations, to Esther Duflo and Hilary Hoynes, the Co-Chairs of the search at aea-data-editor-search@aeapubs.org by September 5, 2017.


Search Committee:
Esther Duflo, Co-Chair
Hilary Hoynes, Co-Chair
John Abowd
Matthew Gentzkow
Gary King
Margaret Levenstein
Peter Rousseau