A Report of Data-Intensive Capability, Institutional Support, and Data Management Practices in Social Sciences

  • Wei Jeng University of Pittsburgh
  • Liz Lyon University of Pittsburgh


We report on a case study which examines the social science community’s capability and institutional support for data management. Fourteen researchers were invited for an in-depth qualitative survey between June 2014 and October 2015. We modify and adopt the Community Capability Model Framework (CCMF) profile tool to ask these scholars to self-assess their current data practices and whether their academic environment provides enough supportive infrastructure for data related activities. The exemplar disciplines in this report include anthropology, political sciences, and library and information science.

Our findings deepen our understanding of social disciplines and identify capabilities that are well developed and those that are poorly developed. The participants reported that their institutions have made relatively slow progress on economic supports and data science training courses, but acknowledged that they are well informed and trained for participants’ privacy protection. The result confirms a prior observation from previous literature that social scientists are concerned with ethical perspectives but lack technical training and support. The results also demonstrate intra- and inter-disciplinary commonalities and differences in researcher perceptions of data-intensive capability, and highlight potential opportunities for the development and delivery of new and impactful research data management support services to social sciences researchers and faculty.


Research Papers