Data Curation as Governance Practice
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionScandinavian Journal of Information Systems. 2020, 32 (1) https://aisel.aisnet.org/sjis/vol32/iss1/1
Data governance is concerned with leveraging the potential value of data in data infrastructures. In IS research, data governance has developed as a management perspective, implying a narrow view of who makes decisions about the data in infrastructures. In contrast, we propose a data governance in practice view and focus on the day-to-day decisions of users working with the data. Drawing on an interpretive case study of three data infrastructures in the Norwegian public sector, we ask: How can we characterize data governance in practice? We find that the work of data curation is a fundamental element of data governance practice. Data emerge dynamically as assets, enfolding the involved users’ interests and contexts. We contribute to the IS literature in two ways. First, we characterize three main practices of data curation: achieving data quality, filtering the relevant data, and ensuring data protection. In so doing we foreground the role of the users as contributing to shaping data infrastructures. Second, we develop an analytical framework which specifies the unfolding of user involvement in data infrastructures-in-use and conceptualizes this work as emergent. Our contributions have implications for developing training support for users as data curators, and for the ethics of data management.