Data Sharing in the High-throughput University: Mobility and Precarity

Stefan Egon Reichmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The nascent field of data science and the expansion of the higher education sector share surprising affinities. The emergence of the “entrepreneurial university” has brought increasing differentiation of the work roles of academics in addition to increasedmobility and, for some, precarity. At the same time, researchers are dealing with unprecedented amounts of data. The present article describes how policies and infrastructures implemented to support researchers with data curation tasks might berepurposedby research administrators to tackle problems of academic mobility rooted in increasing precarity of non-tenured research staff. Findingssuggest that the organizational benefit of research data management (RDM) is not increased efficiency or reusability of research, but rather increased control over data left behind by non-tenured staff. Recent interest in data mobility needs to be understood by reference to increased researcher mobility. While the view of data as context-independent evidence has been challenged by reference to the investments necessary to mobilize data as evidence in the first place, the material presented here suggests that RDMis repurposed by universities as a strategy to manage, not data, but rather increasing rates of staff turnover.The mobility of data producers and the immobility of data are frequently in tension. Handing over data is problematic irrespective of domain, data type, and funding source. The term “high-throughput university” is introduced in opposition to “high-throughput” data production techniques to suggest that findability and reusability of data need to be recontextualized with reference to increased academic mobility.
Translated title of the contributionData Sharing in der Hochdurchlass-Universität: Mobilität und Prekarität
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Studies of Science
Publication statusSubmitted - 20 Jan 2021

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