Fostering Research Data Management in Collaborative Research Contexts: Lessons learnt from an ‘Embedded’ Evaluation of 'Data Story'
Recent studies suggest that RDM practices are not yet properly integrated into daily research workflows, nor supported by any tools researchers typically use. To help close this gap, we have elaborated a design concept called ‘Data Story’ drawing on ideas from (digital) data storytelling and aiming at facilitating the appropriation of RDM practices, in particular data curation, sharing and reuse. Our focus was on researchers working mainly with qualitative data in their daily workflows. Data Story integrates traditional data curation approaches with a more narrative, contextual, and collaborative organizational layer that can be thought of as a ‘story’. Our findings come from a long-term ‘embedded’ evaluation of the concept and show that: (1) engaging with Data Story has many potential benefits, as for example peer learning opportunities, better data overview, and organization of analytical insights; (2) Data Story can effectively address data curation issues such as standardization and unconformity; and (3) it addresses a broader set of issues and concerns that are less dealt with in the current state of play such as lack of motivation and stylistic choices. Our contribution, based on lessons learnt, is to provide a new design approach for RDM and for new collaborative research data practices, one grounded in narrative structures, capable of negotiating between top-down policies and bottom-up practices, and which supports ‘reflective’ learning opportunities – with and about data – of many kinds.