With more and more data science students being interested in collaborative communities like Kaggle, and with faculty constantly being asked to do more with the same amount of resources, there seems to my naive mind an opportunity for a more symbiotic relationship. These community's successes are evidence that many students (in the broad sense of the word, at least) are seeking additional opportunities to reinforce their education through applied learning. Beyond the obvious ethical issues that might arise from a sort of indentured service, I am curious why more professors don't offer opportunities for students to practice and realize the practical application of their skills by doing even some of the exploratory or data clean up grunt work that most research requires, as this might provide them more time to engage in higher value add activities.

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    They do, but they ask the "best" or "most focused" students not the whole student body. – Solar Mike Sep 4 '18 at 6:29
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    Are you an academic? What field are you in? Do you mean undergraduate students or graduate students? I have never heard of a field in which students (graduate or undergraduate) are not utilized for research. – Stella Biderman Sep 4 '18 at 7:15
  • Students are the primary means to boost the research outcome of a lab in any technical field and country I have knowledge of. Some barriers that come to mind are: 1) lack of funding in countries/fields where not paying a student for his/her work is seen as not ethical, 2) already too many students to manage together with lack of funding for PhD/postdocs who would otherwise manage them. – ncasas Sep 4 '18 at 7:32
  • I suggest you improve focus of this focus, for instance by defining "students" and formulating exactly what is your question. – Scientist Sep 4 '18 at 13:31

I do employ students to participate in my research. In my department these students (Bachelor and Master students) are paid. That is the first limit to the number of students I can employ: I can only employ so many students as my budget allows.

The second limit is that in the kind of research I do these students cost me more time than they save (unless they are really good). Doing real research is for them a whole new experience, and they have to learn. That costs time, I need to do a lot of explaining, errors happen that need to be found and than fixed, etc.

That is fine, giving them that experience is why I employ them. They can see if this is something they are interested in pursuing as a long term career. If so, then they start with a bit of experience. If not, they are saved from starting a PhD and than dropping out. Either way is a positive outcome for them. For me, employing students for research is more a teaching task; an enjoyable and rewarding teaching task, but not something that I expect to improve my productivity as a researcher (If it happens than that is a nice bonus).

This obviously depends on the kind of research one does, and the kind of tasks that needs to be performed to do that research.

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