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Theses categories could be modified to handle professionals who work in support of research that are not necessarily subject matter experts in the field. Examples: statisticians, system administrators, programmers and database administrators working for large research groups are much more like SEIU IT workers or OAs than traditional research assistants/associates - the category of "research assistant" is just a side effect of where the money comes from. These people are always going to get overlooked when looking at equivalent salaries at other institutions, because they're all going to be paid more than an average "research assistant" even if they're being underpaid for their field.
These ranks come directly from the OAR that governs these things at the state level. There is a question whether these can be modified locally or not, but it may not be worth the hassle.http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/rules/oars_500/oar_580/580_020.html
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