Research Data Management as a “wicked problem”

Awre, Chris and Baxter, Jim and Clifford, Brian and Colclough, Janette and Cox, Andrew and Dods, Nick and Drummond, Paul and Fox, Yvonne and Gill, Martin and Gregory, Kerry and Gurney, Anita and Harland, Juliet and Khokhar, Masud and Lowe, Dawn and O'Beirne, Ronan and Proudfoot, Rachel and Schwamm, Hardy and Smith, Andrew and Verbaan, Eddy and Waller, Liz and Williamson, Laurian and Wolf, Martin and Zawadzki, Matthew (2015) Research Data Management as a “wicked problem”. Library Review, 64 (4-5). pp. 356-371. ISSN 0024-2535

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the usefulness of the concept to thinking about Research Data Management (RDM). The concept of “wicked problems” seeks to differentiate very complex, intractable challenges from tamer issues where approaches to problem solving are well-understood. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on and co-authored by a collaboration of practitioners from libraries, information technology and research administration, with facilitators from the Sheffield Information School. Participants worked together in two-day-long workshops to understand the wicked problem concept and advice on leadership in wicked problem contexts. Findings – Participants concurred that RDM had many features of a wicked problem and most of Grint’s advice on leadership for wicked problems also resonated. Some elements of the issue were simple; participants were optimistic about improving the situation over time. Participants were resistant to the more negative or fatalistic connotations of the phrase “wicked problem”. Viewing RDM as a wicked problem is an interesting way of looking at it as a challenge for support professionals. Practical implications – The notion of a wicked problem is a generative concept that can be usefully added to professional vocabulary. Originality/value – The paper captures an in-depth response from practitioners to the notion of wicked problems as a lens for examining RDM.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Library Review
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This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? researchacademic librariesdata curationresearch data managementlibrary and information sciences ??
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Deposited On:
21 Oct 2015 05:02
Last Modified:
14 May 2024 01:33