Inter-Organisational Coordination Work in Digital Curation: the Case of Eurobarometer
Open research is predicated upon seamless access to curated research data. Major national and European funding schemes, such as Horizon Europe, strongly encourage or require publicly funded data to be FAIR - that is, Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable (Wilkinson, 2016). What underpins such initiatives are the many data organizations and repositories working with their stakeholders and each other to establish policies and practices, implement them, and do the curatorial work to increase the available, discoverability, and accessibility of high quality research data. However, such work has often been invisible and underfunded, necessitating creative and collaborative solutions.
In this paper, we briefly describe how one such case from social science data: the processing of the Eurobarometer data set. Using content analysis of administrative documents and interviews, we detail how European data archives managed the tensions of curatorial work across borders and jurisdictions from the 1970s to the mid-2000s, the challenges that they faced in distributing work, and the solutions they found. In particular, we look at the interactions of the Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) and social science data organizations (DO) like UKDA, ICPSR, and GESIS and the institutional and organizational collaborations that made Eurobarometer “too big to fail”. We describe some of the invisible work that they underwent in the past in making data in Europe findable, accessible, interoperable, and conclude with implications for “frictionless” data access and reuse today.
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