The aim of this project was to identify recent developments, opportunities, and priority gaps in Australia’s social science research data ecosystem. This ecosystems includes Research Data Commons (large-scale data storage and computation infrastructure along with analytic tools and interoperability protocols) as well as the workforce and governance arrangements required to enable research data and the associated infrastructure to be effectively developed and used.

The development and implementation of large-scale Research Data Commons is still at an early stage in the Australian social sciences. Stakeholders identified issues needing to be addressed as follows:

  • Research Data Infrastructure. Adapting traditional qualitative research methods to work with big data and related capabilities; increased funding to build advanced social research capabilities (and underpinning infrastructures), and contributing to the rapid deployment of the Data Availability and Transparency Act 2022 while readying the sector (our people and facilities) to continue to produce value in a future characterised by data volume rather than scarcity.
  • Workforce. A need to increase awareness and understanding of the use and benefits of Research Data Commons infrastructure; to embed data literacy into university curricula and researcher training across all social science disciplines; and to introduce better mechanisms and incentives to utilise big data in social research, policy and translation.
  • Governance. Ensuring effective policies and protocols for access, privacy, ethics and stewardship of research data, as well as necessary funding mechanisms. This includes particular governance and sovereignty issues that need to be acknowledged and addressed with respect to Indigenous data.
    Related Information

    Australia’s data-enabled research future: synthesis report

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