Journal article


Introduction. We present an in-depth case study that follows collaborative data sharing, curation and reuse practices among eleven zooarchaeologists and two curators during a large data reuse project. A data life-cycle model highlights how factors in one life-cycle phase impacted other phases forming virtuous (positive) and vicious (negative) circles.

Method. Mixed methods were employed, including individual and focus group interviews, observations, documentary analysis of e-mail threads, and review of curatorial guidelines.

Analysis. Interview and e-mail data had two rounds of qualitative coding. General topical codes were established first. Next, relationships among the four life-cycle phases (data production, sharing, curation, and reuse) and factors having positive or negative effects were coded.

Results. Data production practices were the most influential on other phases, data sharing practices followed. Curatorial intervention, at times laborious, did reverse factors that negatively influenced curation and reuse. Data reuse had a positive influence on all other phases.

Conclusion. Data producers partnering with data curators to steer the data production process, after data management planning and before data deposit, is critical to avoid the proliferation of vicious circles and enable meaningful data reuse. Understanding the impact of data practices, can lead to self-reflection on the part of data producers, sharers, curators, and reusers.

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