At 16:00 (CET) on 2 March 2021, Kathleen Gregory will defend her PhD at Maastricht University. The title is Findable and reusable? Data discovery practices in research. The defence will be online, and can be followed from the comfort of your home here. The digital version of the thesis held by Maastricht University library is here. I have had the pleasure of supervising this project, together with Paul Groth, University of Amsterdam and Andrea Scharnhorst, DANS. This PhD is part of the project Re-SEARCH: Contextual Search for Research Data, funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO Grant 652.001.002).
Short summary: The reuse of research data is heralded as having the potential to increase effectiveness, productivity, and reproducibility in science. Little is known, however, about an important precursor to data reuse – researchers’ practices of data discovery. This dissertation presents empirical research about the practices involved in discovering data, examining what researchers across disciplines are actually doing as they find, make sense of and use data which they have not created. It brings together perspectives from information science, computer science, and science and technology studies to examine these practices with the aim of informing and intervening into the design of search solutions for research data. User-centered models of information seeking, common in IS and CS, provide an overarching framework for this research, while concepts from STS are used to engage with these models and explore the sociotechnical nature of data discovery.