New Research Data Management Blog Series

The “European Border Communities” website runs a new blog series focusing on the “how” of doing research. Research funders not only regard responsible data management as part of good research, it can also prevent sleepless nights during a research project. The series “Research in fiction through the lens of data management” is written for researchers who are new to the topic. Using a fictional fieldwork case, it hopes to make data management come more alive and to provide food for thought and inspiration for day-to-day research activities.

Stockphoto - Silhouette reading

On European and national level there are great ambitions for transition to a system and culture of Open Science for the benefit of various sectors and groups in society.[1] Open research data is part of this development. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the funder of the research project “Getting to the Core of Crimmigration”  carried out by researchers of the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Government & SocietyLeiden Law School, is an advocate of open science to make results and other output of research projects available for others to consult or reuse in new research.

Data should be “findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR)” [2]. Of course, this does not mean that all research data would be automatically available to everybody. The NWO data management protocol mentions “aspects such as privacy, public security, ethical limitations, property rights and commercial interests” [2] to take into account. This list already covers topics that are very relevant for data management, but in the day-to-day work of a research team, other practical aspects play a role as well.

During approximately 1,5 years, the data management role has been embedded within the research team of “Getting to the Core of Crimmigration”. This has led to a changed discourse within the project team and insights for both researchers and data management staff. How to deal with and care for research data is a topical issue now and researchers are being asked to integrate data management into their own work processes. The "Getting to the Core of Crimmigration" project seeks to contribute to the open science transition and cultural change by approaching the topic from the point of view of the day-to-day research process. As the project’s research is work in progress and has not yet led to publications based on newly collected data, a fictional example has been chosen to approach and illustrate the topic that may appear rather abstract at times.

Dutch researchers might even have read the novel Nooit meer slapen, by W.F. Hermans (1966)[3] as part of their ‘reading list’ at secondary school. The blog series will look at the narrative from the 'data perspective' and relate it to data management and project management questions and resources that are relevant for researchers today, especially for PhD students and their supervisors.  

As the research projects on European Border Communities make use of the socio-legal approach using a mix of mainly qualitative methods including legal analysis, the series reflects this background.

Until the end of 2018 the following parts of the blog series Research in fiction through the lens of data management will be published:


[1] e.g. cf. OCW (2017, 9 February). National Plan Open Science. doi:10.4233/uuid:9e9fa82e-06c1-4d0d-9e20-5620259a6c65

[2] NWO. Data management protocol,, last consulted on 28 August 2018

[3] For international readers this blog post refers to an English translation: Hermans, W.F. (2007). Beyond Sleep. (I. Rilke, Trans.). New York, NY: The Overlook Press. (Original work published in 1966, translation of the 27th impression published in 2003 by De Bezige Bij).