Key Issues for Digital Research: A Social Science Perspective on Policy and Practice

A Forum Discussion Paper for the Oxford e-Social Science Project of the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford e-Research Centre, and the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.

20 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2012 Last revised: 2 Dec 2015

See all articles by William H. Dutton

William H. Dutton

University of Southern California

Marina Jirotka

University of Oxford - Oxford e-Research Centre

Eric T. Meyer

UT Austin iSchool; University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Ralph Schroeder

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Cohen Simpson

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Methodology

Date Written: May 31, 2012

Abstract

The Oxford e-Social Science (OeSS) project investigated the uses and impacts of digital research – what others have called e-Research or e-Science – from the perspective of the social sciences. The study examined the factors shaping new approaches to digital research across the sciences and humanities as well as its implications for the nature and quality of research, in addition to the ethical, legal, and institutional issues it raises in particular research areas. Appendix A provides an overview of the OeSS project. As the OeSS project came to an end after six years of research across two phases, project members hosted two days of events focused on the challenges presented by digital research, and the issues raised for policy and practice.

Key issue areas emerged in discussion of the social shaping and implications of digital research. They include the growing wealth of digital data, the potential for digital collaboration, new forms of scholarly communication, the ethical challenges of digital research, the reshaping of institutional boundaries, and the need for digital curricula. While there are many other issues, these surfaced as key in discussion about digital researchers and colleagues from business, industry and the policy communities with an interest in the vitality of this burgeoning area of research. This report discusses these issues in turn before concluding with thoughts on moving ahead. Appendix A provides an overview of the Oxford e-Social Science Project, which provided a foundation for the forum discussion, and Appendix B a list of participants in the policy forum that informs this report.

Keywords: digital, research, Internet, social science, e-Research, big data, ethics

Suggested Citation

Dutton, William H. and Jirotka, Marina and Meyer, Eric T. and Schroeder, Ralph and Simpson, Cohen, Key Issues for Digital Research: A Social Science Perspective on Policy and Practice (May 31, 2012). A Forum Discussion Paper for the Oxford e-Social Science Project of the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford e-Research Centre, and the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2071160 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2071160

William H. Dutton (Contact Author)

University of Southern California ( email )

3502 Watt Way #304
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

Marina Jirotka

University of Oxford - Oxford e-Research Centre ( email )

7 Keble Road
Oxford, OX1 3QG
United Kingdom

Eric T. Meyer

UT Austin iSchool ( email )

Austin, TX
United States

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St Giles
Oxford, OX1 3JS
United Kingdom
01865 287210 (Phone)
01865 287211 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/people/?id=120

Ralph Schroeder

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Cohen Simpson

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Methodology ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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