A Lockpick's Guide to dataARC: Designing Infrastructures and Building Communities to Enable Transdisciplinary Research

Rachel Opitz, Colleen Strawhacker, Philip Buckland, Jackson Cothren, Tom Dawson, Andrew Dugmore, George Hambrecht, Willem Koster, Emily Lethbridge, Ingrid Mainland, Tom Mcgovern, Anthony Newton, Gisli Palsson, Tom Ryan, Richard Streeter, Elisabeth Stade, Vicki Szabo, Polly Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The North Atlantic Biocultural Organization (NABO) community initiated dataARC to develop digital research infrastructures to support their work on long-term human-ecodynamics in the North Atlantic. These infrastructures were designed to address the challenges of sharing research data, the connections between those data and high-level interpretations, and the interpretations themselves. In parallel, they were also designed to support the reuse of diverse data that underpin transdisciplinary synthesis research and to contextualise materials disseminated widely to the public more firmly in their evidence base. This article outlines the research infrastructure produced by the project and reflects on its design and development. We outline the core motivations for dataARC's work and introduce the tools, platforms and (meta)data products developed. We then undertake a critical review of the project's workflow. This review focuses on our understanding of the needs of stakeholder groups, the principles that guided the design of the infrastructure, and the extent to which these principles are successfully promoted in the current implementation. Drawing on this assessment, we consider how the infrastructure, in whole or in part, might be reused by other transdisciplinary research communities. Finally, we highlight key socio-technical gaps that may emerge as structural barriers to transdisciplinary, engaged, and open research if left unaddressed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternet Archaeology
Publication statusPublished - 14 Oct 2021


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