Researchers, Impact and Publications (R.I.P.): AKA, how to adapt a cult game to increase engagement and awareness

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Increasing researcher awareness of the importance of the links between good Research Data Management, published articles, funder requirements and the research lifecycle is a large part of a Research Support services’ role. Achieving this requires diverse strategies and innovative approaches. Recent initiatives from information professionals include the use of games as a mechanism for opening up a dialogue with their audience – using play to highlight issues, expectations and requirements, and provide an opportunity to measure understanding before, during and after a training session.

The University of Bristol’s Research Data Service has adapted the cult game ‘Cards Against Humanity’ for a research environment. Whilst the game demonstrated here is specific to Research Data Management and its relationship to decisions made during the research lifecycle, the mechanism allows for adaptations across multiple fields: teams in contracts, ethics, research development and data protection can also benefit by developing their own questions and using this game as strategy to reach their audience. Through showing how the questions and answers are structured and providing examples (and exhibiting the game at the stand), this poster will demonstrate the simplicity and flexibility of the game’s mechanism, and how appropriate it is for the research environment.

The game comprises black cards (question cards) and white cards (answer cards); white cards are a noun, a noun phrase, a gerund, or a gerund phrase and black cards are questions structured in a way that in the majority of cases, a white card answer can be played. The game is played by one player (the card Czar) asking a question from a black card. This is answered in turn by the rest of the group, each player justifying their answer. The card Czar judges the best answer, the winner is given the black card and becomes the next round’s card Czar. At the end of the game, the person with the most black cards is the winner.

The original Cards Against Humanity game is renowned for its inappropriate question and answer combinations. Whilst the contentious content has been omitted, the spirit of the game has been kept by paying homage to the tone of the question cards and adding a small ratio of surreal comedy cards for those rounds where the player has no appropriate card to play. Thus, a deck containing a set of 30 black question cards has 180 white answer cards (of which 36 are comic).

In addition to its use as a tool for engaging with researchers, Cards Against Humanity has openness at its core. The originators state it is ‘meant to be remixed’, and have issued Cards against Humanity with a CC-BY-NC-SA licence. The Bigger Blacker Cards card generator code used to create our game is distributed open source (GNU GPL) through GitHub. R.I.P. is easily transportable, comprising only a deck of cards, and can be used; as an icebreaker, to check existing knowledge; as a session round-up, to check understanding; as a lunchtime gaming session, perhaps with PGRs. There is also the potential to use larger, Velcro backed cards on a display board as a conversation starter at stalls and outreach events, as demonstrated at the poster stand.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2020
EventInternational Digital Curation Conference 2020 : Collective Curation: the many hands that make data work - Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland
Duration: 17 Feb 202020 Feb 2020
Conference number: 15


ConferenceInternational Digital Curation Conference 2020
Abbreviated titleIDCC 2020
Internet address


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