Macias ready to help Iowa State faculty, students organize research data

Elizabeth Macias
Elizabeth Macias

By Whitney Baxter

When Elizabeth Macias was working on her doctoral degree at Iowa State University, she had a hard time reproducing data from a study conducted 10 years prior. Not only could she not track down the student who had conducted the research, but the faculty member who had worked with the student had limited data from the study on file. Macias needed this information to finish her research.

This challenge that Macias encountered is one she hopes to help prevent others from experiencing in the future through her new role as a data analyst for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The newly created position is a collaborative effort between CALS and the Iowa State University Library. Its initiation is funded through the Collaborative Genius Fund, established by Lisa Schulte Moore, professor of natural resource ecology and management, with funds Schulte Moore received from her 2021 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius award.” The fund aims to set up data analysis and long-term curation services for research teams at Iowa State.

“We are focused on supporting researchers to do what they do best – the research! Data collection protocols, organization and sharing all map to the new fee-for-service office that Dr. Macias now manages,” said Carolyn Lawrence-Dill, CALS associate dean for research and discovery. “She has the perfect perspective and skills to assist with all sorts of research data organization, analysis and availability needs. We are delighted that Dr. Macias has joined us.”

Macias will work with faculty and staff researchers, as well as students, to collect, organize, analyze and share their data in standardized formats so it is easy to understand, replicate and reuse in future studies. Her primary focus will be collaborating with CALS researchers, but her services are available to any faculty member at Iowa State.

“I like that Iowa State is trying to make data more accessible, and it shows how very innovative the university is when it comes to research data support,” Macias said.

Macias is housed in Parks Library with other members of the library’s research data services team. Megan O’Donnell, research data services lead with University Library, said Macias’ ability to provide data analysis adds a research service their team has been missing.

“With Elizabeth on our team, we now have the ability to provide dedicated support to research teams throughout their research project – from beginning to end,” O’Donnell said.

Faculty are encouraged to include data analysis services in grant proposals they write for research projects. Individuals in CALS can contact the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Research Excellence Support (CARES) PreAward Team to have one of the coordinators assist with this process.

Researchers will meet with Macias to review what support they will need based on the type of data they will collect.

“I am excited about the opportunity to collaborate with researchers from diverse research fields within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and beyond,” Macias said.

Macias can be reached at