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Big data, little data, no data: scholarship in the networked world

By: Borgman, Christine L.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Cambridge The MIT Press 2015Description: xxv, 383 p.ISBN: 9780262028561.Subject(s): Communication in learning and scholarship - Technological innovations | Research - Methodology | Research - Data processing | Information technology | Information storage and retrieval systems | CyberinfrastructureDDC classification: 005.74015 Summary: “Big Data” is on the covers of Science, Nature, the Economist, and Wired magazines, on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. But despite the media hyperbole, as Christine Borgman points out in this examination of data and scholarly research, having the right data is usually better than having more data; little data can be just as valuable as big data. In many cases, there are no data—because relevant data don’t exist, cannot be found, or are not available. Moreover, data sharing is difficult, incentives to do so are minimal, and data practices vary widely across disciplines. Borgman, an often-cited authority on scholarly communication, argues that data have no value or meaning in isolation; they exist within a knowledge infrastructure—an ecology of people, practices, technologies, institutions, material objects, and relationships. After laying out the premises of her investigation—six “provocations” meant to inspire discussion about the uses of data in scholarship—Borgman offers case studies of data practices in the sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities, and then considers the implications of her findings for scholarly practice and research policy. To manage and exploit data over the long term, Borgman argues, requires massive investment in knowledge infrastructures; at stake is the future of scholarship. (https://mitpress.mit.edu/big-data)
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Table of Contents:

Part I: Data and Scholarship

01. Provocations
02. What are data?
03. Data scholarship
04. Data diversity

Part I: Case Studies in Data Scholarship

05. Data scholarship in the sciences
06. Data scholarship in the social sciences
07. Data scholarship in the humanities

Part III: Data Policy and Practice

08. Sharing, releasing, and reusing data
09. Credit, attribution, and discovery of data
10. What to keep and why to keep them

“Big Data” is on the covers of Science, Nature, the Economist, and Wired magazines, on the front pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. But despite the media hyperbole, as Christine Borgman points out in this examination of data and scholarly research, having the right data is usually better than having more data; little data can be just as valuable as big data. In many cases, there are no data—because relevant data don’t exist, cannot be found, or are not available. Moreover, data sharing is difficult, incentives to do so are minimal, and data practices vary widely across disciplines.

Borgman, an often-cited authority on scholarly communication, argues that data have no value or meaning in isolation; they exist within a knowledge infrastructure—an ecology of people, practices, technologies, institutions, material objects, and relationships. After laying out the premises of her investigation—six “provocations” meant to inspire discussion about the uses of data in scholarship—Borgman offers case studies of data practices in the sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities, and then considers the implications of her findings for scholarly practice and research policy. To manage and exploit data over the long term, Borgman argues, requires massive investment in knowledge infrastructures; at stake is the future of scholarship.


(https://mitpress.mit.edu/big-data)

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