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The Stewardship Gap Project

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Gutmann, Myron P. (University of Colorado Boulder)
  • Berman, Francine (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
  • York, Jeremy (University of Michigan)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Free Keywords
data; digital preservation; data stewardship; digital curation; research data
  • Abstract

    The data in this collection are derived from a series of 46 interviews with researchers about the ways that their data are being stewarded, the value that they associate with their data, and the connections between the value they ascribe to the data and the ways that the data are being stewarded. The data were collected as part of a project designed to help understand the differences between current data stewardship activities and best or ideal practices - something that the researchers involved call the "stewardship gap." Closing this gap will require innovative strategies by researchers, research organizations, and research sponsors, something revealed by the conclusions drawn from these data. The researchers interviewed 46 active researchers, drawn from a variety of scientific domains, to understand their perspectives on the value of their research data, the length of time their data would remain valuable, and the kind and extent of commitments in place to ensure ongoing preservation of valuable data. In all, the researchers provided descriptions, valuations, and prospective plans for 120 datasets produced in 46 projects.
  • Technical Information

    Response Rates: The overall response rate for this study is about 22% (46 respondents out of 207 requests). Detailed response rates by scientific domain are reported in Gutmann, York, and Berman 2018.
Temporal Coverage
  • 1948-01-01 / 2016-12-31
    Time Period: Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 1948--Sat Dec 31 00:00:00 EST 2016
  • 2015-01-01 / 2016-12-31
    Collection Date(s): Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 EST 2015--Sat Dec 31 00:00:00 EST 2016
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Individuals responsible for data projects chosen from the universe of publicly- and privately-funded research in the United States
Our sampling strategy is reported in Gutmann, York and Berman 2018.
Collection Mode
  • face-to-face interview~~telephone interview~~

    These data were collected in 2015 and 2016 from a sample of researchers who had participated in research funded by public and private sponsors in the United States, with the research generally conducted during the first half of the 2010s, sometimes as part of projects that began earlier. 

    The data were collected using a qualitative survey instrument that is included among the files deposited as part of this project. The data collection took place in two phases, with a slightly different survey instrument for each. The survey instruments were reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the University of Colorado Boulder, with assurances to respondents that their identities would be kept confidential. Respondents acknowledged that they gave their informed consent to participate.

    The interviewer and respondents generally spoke over the telephone, with a few face-to-face interviews. The interviewer recorded responses in the form of qualitative notes during the interview. Each respondent was asked to identify one project that they worked on, and then to identify all the data sets produced as part of that research. There are thus 46 respondents and a total of 120 data sets. 

    The data deposited here are abbreviated summaries of the responses, with data simplified and edited to ensure that respondent confidentiality is maintained. We have made an effort to make the data as systematic as possible, but our intention was not to create a quantitative survey with a limited number of responses. The data description document that is included among the files that we have deposited attempts to make research use of our data straightforward, but our initial qualitative approach did not lead to easily quantified results. In particular, some of the results reflect situations where the respondent described data stewardship for all of her or his data, and in other cases for each individual data set. 

    One particular case requires further explanation here: data sets 97 and 98 are the same, with two entries because the respondent noted that there was both a commitment and an intention to preserve the data set. We recorded both, but for most analyses future researchers may choose only to count it once, depending on the goals of the analysis. 


Update Metadata: 2019-01-02 | Issue Number: 1 | Registration Date: 2019-01-02

Gutmann, Myron P.; Berman, Francine; York, Jeremy (2019): The Stewardship Gap Project. Version: 1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.