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The Data Archive as a Social Network: An Analysis of the Australian Social Science Data Archive

Presenter 1
Steven McEachern
Australian Social Science Data Archive

The study of the network structure of academic disciplines through the analysis of publication citation data has a long history in the field of social network analysis (eg. Mullins et al, 1977). Such studies have examined network characteristics such as the centrality of researchers within collaborative networks (Bollen et al, 2005), and the characteristics distinguishing core and peripheral members of networks (Borgatti and Everett, 1999). The prevalence of such research can in part be attributed to the relatively easy collection of the relational data required for social network analysis, in a consistent and structured form, within a definable population. It is therefore somewhat surprising that the holdings of data archives have not been subject to similar analysis. The metadata describing social science data deposits represents a rich source of data to explore the emergence of the data networks supporting social science research activity. This paper seeks to address therefore seeks to fill this gap. It presents a longitudinal social network analysis of the data holdings of the Australian Social Science Data Archive, exploring the patterns of deposit by discipline and institution, over the 30 year history of the archive, as well as visualisation of the emergence of the deposit network over time.

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