A short text paragraph printed on a coloured paper slip on a table that had been distributed alongside many other cases for a research presentation
One of the cases in the research collection speaking of the necessity to articulate situated conditions for (re)use, 2023, from the project: Ecologies of Dissemination. https://parsejournal.com/research-themes/#ecologiesofdissemination
This workshop explores a particular document in research processes, the data management plan (DMP). The DMP is often required by funding agencies such as SNSF to outline the handling of data in a research project and to document how data will be generated, collected, documented, shared, and preserved. This process of managing and sharing research data through a DMP is considered foundational for good scientific research practice and governed through norms and standards such as the FAIR principles.

Documenting the data life cycle stages for a research project is a relatively new practice. It was only introduced broadly in the 2010s (Smale et al. 2020). Earlier, the DMP was mainly used in engineering and for very complex data-driven projects. However, paralleling the digitization of research and the proliferation of datafication, there have been economic and institutional arguments to formalize the handling and securing of data in research. It has been suggested that DMP’s have professional, economic, and institutional benefits. They are considered to increase the researcher’s productivity and visibility, the academic and non-academic impact of research, and serve the purpose of institutional planning and compliance.

In this workshop, we want to ask what a data management plan is and could be. How does it manage and plan data? What are the biases and mechanisms that go into this management and planning? What are its implications for research? What are its effects on researchers? And how could it be re-imagined? What do we actually mean when we refer to “data”, and what tactics do we need to work with or against the modes of accessibility and future use that data management plans suggest?

We will ask these questions while working through data management plans and planning from the bottom up, discussing three ongoing research projects: The “SOLiXG” project co-conducted by Helen V. Pritchard and Femke Snelting deals with digital infrastructures and the reconfiguration of sovereignty and imagined communities. To understand how new technologies are involved in shaping new communities and new notions of boundaries and belonging, their project explores institutional and policy frameworks as well as sites affected by digital transformation. The project formerly titled “Fluid Territories” (Johannes Bruder, Solveig Qu Suess, Tekla Aslanishvili) works with documentary film as a modality and method for researching the temporally and spatially distributed processes that generate and sustain infrastructural promise. The artistic research project “Ecologies of Dissemination” by Eva Weinmayr and Femke Snelting explores “potential strategies of dissemination that acknowledge the tensions and overlaps between feminist methodologies, decolonial knowledge practices, and principles of Open Access.”

We want to look at the limits but also the potential of data management plans and their strategies of making research “accessible”, imagining or plotting future use. Planning and articulating data practices is a means for researchers to provide the methods, and foundations for their arguments or general outputs. It is meant to make tangible and visible how they work and make decisions as researchers. It is a useful tool for discussing research methodology and helps to contextualize and situate the research. Against this backdrop, we want to look at how data planning can be conceived as an active process that may or may not include the preparation of a DMP.

In-person event. There are 20 places for participation in the event. If you would like to participate, please register by February 28th by sending an email to: patrizia.munforte@fhnw.ch

The workshop is part of the project “Critical FAIRness: An Exploratory Study on Open Research Data in Art and Design” (2023-2024), funded by swissuniversities.


Smale, N., Unsworth, K., Denyer, G., Magatova, E., & Barr, D. (2020). A Review of the History, Advocacy and Efficacy of Data Management Plans. International Journal of Digital Curation, 15(1), 1–30. https://doi.org/10.2218/ijdc.v15i1.525

Monday, 4th March 2024, 14:15–16:15

No plan comes accidentally together

Helen V. Pritchard, Femke Snelting
The Institute for Technology in the Public Interest (TITiPI)

In a relatively short period of time, Data Management Plans have become a standard element as a protocol to “plan the life cycle of data” (SNSF) in funded research practice and institutional ethics processes. Developed as a method for planning aerospace missions and other technologically complex projects, the genealogy of these plans is dependent on engineering practice and they act as plans that are prerequisite to and prescribe action.

We wonder what planning data means for research when the rules and protocols are framed through the particular way that engineering understands action or how action might be planned or modeled for.

This question becomes especially in focus now “machine shareable data” as an infrastructural imaginary gets further developed and implemented through the FAIR framework. It means that not only concepts from technical systems get ported to other forms of research, but also start to shape the concrete cloud infrastructures that will be needed to do this work. We revisit Lucy Suchman’s work on plans and actions to understand how data management plans unravel in specific contexts or situations, tracing how technical vocabularies and imaginaries form these rules for the data life.

A contingency reader, including a rain poncho and some stickers held in the palm of a strikers hand
2023 Digital Depletion Strike, Varia, Rotterdam.

Tuesday, 5th March 2024, 10:00–12:00

Document and Decoy

Solveig Qu Suess, Johannes Bruder

Our workshop will engage the topic of open data through the operation of documenting in the context of large-scale infrastructure projects. Information that is made public to document the potential that new infrastructure purportedly generates typically does not empower the concerned public: projects are presented devoid of historical or comparative context and without reference to the geographies and social contexts destined to hold new infrastructure. The operation of documenting and the concept of transparency are in this process instrumentalized, to obscure diverging information and to avoid accountability. Counter-documenting aims at recovering information that is lost in this process, but risks appropriation and exposure. We want to discuss modes of documenting and types of data that preserve the integrity of the subject while exposing supposedly neutral processes of framing and rendering.

Image depicts an index card that shows when and by whom the pre-feasibility study was retrieved
Index card of a pre-feasibility study on large-scale hydropower infrastructure in the Mekong region.

Tuesday, 5th March 2024, 14:00–16:00

From Managing Data to Setting Collective Conditions

Femke Snelting, Eva Weinmayr

This session builds on our work on articulating collective conditions for (re)use in the context of our artistic research project Ecologies of Dissemination: feminist methodologies, decolonial knowledge practices and principles of open access (2022–2024). In the workshop, we will study four selected protocols, licenses and user conditions that could be seen as alternatives to data management plans. These propositions are different because they experiment with what is considered to be data; who negotiates; who is responsible; and at what point in the process they are activated.

In the workshop we want to discuss, analyze and diagram the following documents: a community research contract, a protocol for being a respectful guest, a toolkit for access and benefit sharing and a user condition for post-binary typefaces. They each provide a different take on what it means to go from managing data to setting collective conditions.