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Janet Vertesi: The Value(s) of Data

Thursday, March 3, 2011
4:30 pm


101 Sherrerd Hall
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Reception immediately following in 3rd floor atrium

Not all data is created equal: how and why some materials may be freely shared and others are considered secret or expensive is a matter of debate at the policy and technological level. In this paper, I draw on ethnographic work with two robotic space exploration teams to argue that how scientific collaborations share their data is predicated upon the ways in which they produce that data. Thus data-sharing norms are best understood, I suggest, as arising from the context of data production, not from the context of use or exchange. Shifting our perspective back to the point of production suggests that digital materials are always embedded in a broader data economy, and I present the implications of this perspective for policy and system design.

Janet Vertesi