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Research data in the ethnological disciplines

Shortlink: https://www.waxmann.com/artikelART103100

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Abstract

‘Research data management’ is booming. Urgently demanded and driven by such diverse actors as research funding institutions, who are interested in quality control and the efficient use of data, or the ‘Open’ movements, who advocate free access to knowledge, ethnologists and cultural anthropologists meet this topic with reluctance and often with skepticism. Rightly so, on the one hand, since the archiving of data and, above all, the intended reuse of data by third parties raise a number of practical, legal and ethical questions. On the other hand, the question of how digital data can be organized and especially permanently preserved and used is virulent also in the ethnological disciplines. In any case, the debate on the subject is urgent because overarching regulatory processes have long since been set in motion. This contribution discusses different aspects of the debate on data management and sketches problem areas, open questions and opportunities which can arise for the ethnological disciplines. Not least, the changing conditions of knowledge production and circulation which occur alongside the establishment of digital techniques and technologies require historical contextualization. Therefore, this contribution also attempts a discipline-specific historical categorization.

Keywords
Ethnography, research data management, data policies, data archiving, secondary use of research data, scientific history of cultural anthropology