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Research and Data Networks: A global perspective. Deborah Mitchell Australian National University.

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Presentation on theme: "Research and Data Networks: A global perspective. Deborah Mitchell Australian National University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research and Data Networks: A global perspective. Deborah Mitchell Australian National University

2 Overview Research networks –From local to global –Diffusion of e-Research Breakthroughs and constraints –Enabling technologies –Data storage, analysis and conventions Next steps –What do researchers want? –Multi-lateral agreements

3 Research networks From local to global –The social sciences have been at the forefront of the development of global research networks, dating from 1980s. Examples include ISSP; WVS; and LIS. –Front-end approach: creating comparative data. Diffusion of the idea of e-Research –e-Research only possible in the context of powerful desk top computing; the WWW; and software tools. –Back-end technologies: taking diverse data forms, post- creation to create new research horizons. Examples include visual mapping of observations to customary spatial divisions, eg Census locations.

4 Breakthroughs and … constraints Enabling technologies –Concerted funding by research councils has led to a dazzling array of e-research tools; cyber-infrastructure investment. –Data visualisation tools especially strong and developed by humanities, arts and geographers. –Are the social sciences now lagging? Are there constraints? Data storage, analysis and conventions –Early research efficiency gains in the social sciences may be being penalised in current research council funding rounds. Front-end approaches to data creation and widespread adoption of conventions such as the DDI, make the task of claiming funding difficult for the social sciences. The gee-whizz factor and the terabyte effect. Tool development is lagging in the social sciences, especially for quantitative data. Tolerance of inefficient data forms.

5 Next Steps (1)… What do researchers want? The short answer –Everything, now, on the desk-top … and with minimal effort. The long answer –Current [Google, Wiki] generation of researchers lack an appreciation of front-end efficiencies. This is also true of funding bodies. Should we now focus on back-end technologies in archives? ie, using improved tools to achieve the same ends (data quality or comparability) post- collection? –Ability to combine diverse data forms, within and between national data sources; ie, assembling the quantitative, qualitative, admin and visual data on a particular topic. –Minimising barriers to data access, cross-nationally. For example, adopting common Shibboleth-type conventions.

6 Next Steps (2)… Multi-lateral agreements A starting point –The 40th anniversary of UKDA, the existence of the ICPSR archive at Michigan and the CESSDA group, all provide a strong basis for considering the possibility of a multi-lateral project for data distribution. This would address the global access barriers for researchers. Building on existing strengths –A natural progression from the above and again, building on existing common platforms such as Nesstar, the DDI conventions: would be the development and the capacity to develop [and transfer!] a bank of e- Research tools. –For those in the Nesstar club this would mean placing greater demands on the Nesstar group to develop and make available innovations to all subscribers. Development of a tool bank alongside of existing data sources.

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