Understanding the "open" in making research data open: policy rhetoric and research practice

Merel Noorman, Bridgette Wessels, Thordis Sveinsdottir, Sally Wyatt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


This chapter discusses the meaning of ‘open’ in science, social science and humanities research. It argues that in the policy push for open research data the complexity and diversity of both research practices and ‘openness’ are obscured. Various conceptions of openness can be found in the myriad policy documents and reports presenting visions of open access to research data. The reports share a belief in the technological imperative: inevitable technological progress necessitates immediate action from institutions and individuals. Openness in an organisational sense in the reports is, thus, linked to the idea of science as constituted by collaborative and cross-disciplinary global infra-structures, in which institutions gain a more prominent coordinating role. Data, technologies and the organisational structures in which they are embedded shape and are shaped by the moral values of research communities. The technological dimension directs attention to the different ways in which openness can be conceived in terms of the technologies that support data sharing in particular contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Politics and Policies of Big Data
Subtitle of host publicationBig Data, Big Brother?
EditorsAnn Rudinow Sætnan, Ingrid Schneider, Nicola Green
Place of PublicationMilton Park
PublisherRoutledge/Taylor & Francis Group
ISBN (Print)9781351866552
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

SeriesRoutledge Research in Information Technology and Society

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