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Abstract

in recent years, colloquia, seminars and training on “research data” are growing, as new infrastructures and resources are being developed to make them available. This open data movement urges researchers and researchers to archive data from their surveys in order to make them publicly available. At the same time, the protection of personal data is the subject of new legislative and administrative regulations, which add to the bureaucratic constraints on the field investigation, particularly for the so-called sensitive subjects. Finally, new ethical and technical challenges arise for researchers who want to secure their data and protect the anonymity of their investigators in a context of digital surveillance. These developments place research data at the heart of major challenges. The sometimes conflicting injunctions (protecting data, making them accessible) that researchers and researchers encounter are a source of debate and controversy. In view of the many questions and concerns raised by this ‘data’ moment, this issue proposes to mark a standstill period in order to take a reflexion on research practices and professions in the broad sense: what is, in substance, what is a data? What is its place in the work of the social sciences and humanities? What is expected of us (researchers, researchers, research support and support staff) with these famous data? What is this “data” moment on the evolution of the general science economy? The articles of this number contribute to a reflection that must be collective. The past past years have witnessed the multiplication of seminars, conferences and training sessions addressed to “research data” as well as well as the development of new infrastructures and the allocation of new financial means to manage them. In line with new policies developed towards “open science” and the “replicability” of research, the current movement for open data outlets to archive the data they produce and make them available to the public. At the same time, new regulations have emerged regarding the protection of personal data, which force the administrative and bureaucratic construes that weight on field research, how often they work on “sensitive”. Finally, the rise of digital surveillance unspecified ethical and technical challenges to secure their data and protect the Anonymity of their interviewees. These recent developments place research data at the height of major political and scientific issues. With a number of contradictory injunctions (protecting data, making them available), researchers have been committed in controversies and debates. Given the many questions and concerns that the current “data moment” provokes, this special issue proposes to take a step back and reflect on our trade and practices: what are data really? What is their role in the work of human and social sciences? What are we (researchers and research personnel) about to do with this data? And what does the current “data moment” tell us about the changing economics of science? The articles of this special issue which a first contribution to a reflection that must be collective.

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