WORKSHOP: OPENING RESEARCH DATA — Amplification and Reduction within Media Research Practices

1st Workshop of the Open Media Studies interest group of the German Society for Media Studies (Gesellschaft für Medienwissenschaft – GfM), in cooperation with Wikimedia Deutschland e. V.

Date: March 21, 2019, 11h to 19h
Venue: Wikimedia Deutschland e. V., Tempelhofer Ufer 23-24, 10963 Berlin
Statements of interest/registration: February 15, 2019

Organizers: Sarah-Mai Dang (Philipps Universität Marburg) and Simon David Hirsbrunner (Universität Siegen) with Sarah Behrens (Wikimedia e. V.)

Open by default? The open data discourse suggests that it is always better to «open up» research data; hidden datasets do not help anyone besides the producing researchers themselves. Data produced with the support of public research funds must not be rotting away in a (depreciating) hard drive, a PDF table, or – beware – on an analogue piece of paper. Rather, research data should adhere to the FAIR data principles – hence, being searchable, accessible, interoperable and re-usable (Wilkinson et al. 2016).

However, as sociologist Bruno Latour highlights (Latour 1999), opening up (amplification) always comes with a trade-off (reduction). In the process of data mobilization and standardization, we may gain compatibility and relative universality, but lose qualities such as locality, particularity, materiality, context and diversity. As much as FAIR data is a nobel objective and promising way to strive for open science in many academic fields (e.g. biology, computer science, physics), these principles may seem hard to work with for people handling qualitative or mixed (quant/qual) data, small data, highly heterogeneous, unstructured data, or analogue data.

In our workshop, we would like to assess what «opening up research data» can mean for media scholars, and more generally for the humanities and some fields of the social sciences (e.g. anthropology, Science & Technology Studies). What are opportunities for open data methods? Which challenges are we facing? What is at stake for a particular research project?

The aim of the one day-workshop is to apply a very open definition of research data, not limited to stabilized data in research infrastructures (e.g. metadata within digital media archives). Rather, this can also include data appearing as social media tag, ethnographic field note, or diagram, gathered through qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods.

We are looking forward to statements of interest for workshop participation, including conceptual questions illustrated by a concrete example of one’s own research and a short bio (300-500 words).

Please send your statement no later than February 15, 2019 to both organizers:

Dr. Sarah-Mai Dang: sarah-mai.dang[at]
Simon Hirsbrunner: simon.hirsbrunner[at]

Participants will be provided with further information by March 4, 2019.

For questions please feel free to contact us.

The workshop will take place from 11h to 19h at Wikimedia DE headquarters in Berlin followed by a casual dinner (self-payment basis). The event will be conducted in English, but German submissions are also welcome. Very much looking forward to your contributions and participation! For further information please see here.


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