Open Access, Data Sharing and Archiving of Qualitative Research

Published by Greg D'Arcy on

On 9 August 2018, the Social Transformations and Education Research Hub at Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) hosted a workshop on Open Access, Data Sharing and Archiving of Qualitative Research. Held in conjunction with the Australian Data Archive (ADA) and the Social and Cultural Informatics Platform (SCIP), the workshop brought together almost sixty HASS researchers from around Australia to discuss ideas, interests and dilemmas regarding qualitative research sharing and archiving in the humanities and social sciences, particularly in interdisciplinary studies of childhood, youth and education.

Papers spanned a wide variety of intersecting subject matters and research projects but also presented distinct strands of work – spanning policy, research and cultural sectors – that are part of the changing context in which we conduct and communicate our research. The program addressed several main themes, including: The Big Picture: Policy, Practices, Pitfalls; Archiving the Present: Qualitative and Mixed-methods Projects in the Sociology of Youth and Childhood; Historical Sensibilities and Archival Practices: What can be Learnt from Other Disciplinary Traditions and Cultural Practices?; and Exemplars and Ethics: What’s Working and Not Working? Papers provoked animated discussion surrounding the creative, ethical, practical, methodological and regulatory dimensions of the archiving, re-use and sharing of qualitative research data in the humanities field.

Following this workshop, a small group met the next day to consider how we might further develop collaborations, demonstrator projects and a community of research practice in this area. There were two main lines of discussion. One was exploring the processes, exemplars and practices for digital archiving of qualitative projects. The second was fostering a research community to support a website which will discuss research, showcase programs and projects, link to individual project websites, and provide a portal to an archival repository for sociology of youth and education projects, broadly conceived. The ADA, along with MGSE and SCIP has been developing a prototype of the website and repository and demonstrated them for attendants on the day to garner feedback. The discussions provided an excellent basis for developing this work further. Over the coming months work will continue on the site and a core working group, drawn from researchers Australia-wide, to assist in its development. The current working title for this community is SOCEY- Studies of Childhood, Education and Youth.

If you are interested in linking your project to the developing website and repository, or simply finding out more about what is involved, please touch base with us at or via the ADA.

The workshop was supported by AARE Sociology of Education SIG, the ARC, Australian Data Archive, SCIP and MGSE.