Archival Science

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 101–139 | Cite as

How has your science data grown? Digital curation and the human factor: a critical literature review

  • Alex H. PooleEmail author
Original Paper


Focusing on North America and the United Kingdom, this critical literature review underscores the ways in which sharing, accessing, and reusing science data allow researchers and other stakeholders to address new imperatives in scientific research. Science data stakeholders should harness the principles and practices of digital curation, an overarching concept that encompasses data curation and that centers on adding value to digital data assets. This review first probes data sharing, access, and reuse in specific intellectual and institutional contexts. Next, it examines the ways in which science data sharing, access, and reuse benefits scholarship, primarily by encouraging new research questions and by allowing the reproduction of previous findings. Third, it addresses the infrastructure of science data curation, particularly the roles of cyberinfrastructure, research communities, collaboration, planning, policy, and standards and best practices. Fourth, it turns to the role of institutions—archives, research libraries, institutional repositories, and centers—in curating science data. Archival principles such as provenance, selection and appraisal, authenticity, metadata, risk management, and trust play a pivotal role in digital curation. Finally, it delineates avenues for further research such as sustainability, costing, planning and policy, training and education, researcher practices, and raising awareness.


Digital curation Data curation Science data Data sharing Data reuse Archival principles 



Sincere thanks to Helen R. Tibbo and Christopher A. Lee of the University of North Carolina's School of Information and Library Science for their feedback on an early draft of this essay.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Information and Library ScienceUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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