Research Data Infrastructures

The growing importance of digital infrastructures is increasingly affecting the social and educational sciences. In 2018, the European Commission decided to introduce the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), which aims to create a cloud-based, Europe-wide infrastructure for the storage, distribution and reuse of scientific data (Giannoutakis & Tzovaras, 2017). Other examples include the growing global investment in national research data centres and national research data strategies (Pryor, 2012).

Qualitative research is also receiving increasing attention in this context, although its often interpretive and highly co-constructive nature makes it particularly difficult to translate into data infrastructures. Nevertheless, great hopes are being placed in the infrastructuralisation of qualitative research data – from greater transparency and traceability of research to easier access to data, cost savings and, increasingly, the possibility of ‘machine-readable research data’ (Daniel, 2019). Accordingly, attempts are being made to further advance the infrastructuralisation of qualitative research, with one area of practice becoming increasingly relevant: research data management.

At the chair, we focus on the growing infrastructuralisation of qualitative research, and in particular on research data management as a central field of practice, and ask what effects this development can have on qualitative research in the social and educational sciences. Such effects could be:

  • a focus on certain types of research (especially those that are already dominant in a research field);
  • a gradual shift of research practices, research funding and political attention to data practices (“data care” increasingly overshadowing actual research);
  • the normalisation of research practices through dataveillance, shareveillance and ethical monitoring (which would put critical research in particular under increasing pressure).

Existing studies in this line of research can be found here:

Hartong, Sigrid (2023): The global infrastructuring of research data and its risks for (particularly qualitative and critical) education scholarship. In: On Education, 18 (Special Issue: epistemologies of data).

Hartong, Sigrid; Machold, Claudia & Stošić, Patricia (2020): Zur (unterschätzten) Eigendynamik von Forschungsdateninfrastrukturen. In: Erziehungswissenschaft, 61(31): 51-59.


Letzte Änderung: 3. April 2024