Visualisations of research and research-related activities including research data management (RDM) as a lifecycle have proliferated in the last decade. The purpose of this paper is to offer a systematic analysis and critique of such models.
A framework for analysis synthesised from the literature presented and applied to nine examples.
The strengths of the lifecycle representation are to clarify stages in research and to capture key features of project-based research. Nevertheless, their weakness is that they typically mask various aspects of the complexity of research, constructing it as highly purposive, serial, uni-directional and occurring in a somewhat closed system. Other types of models such as spiral of knowledge creation or the data journey reveal other stories about research. It is suggested that we need to develop other metaphors and visualisations around research.
The paper explores the strengths and weaknesses of the popular lifecycle model for research and RDM, and also considers alternative ways of representing them.
Librarians use lifecycle models to explain service offerings to users so the analysis will help them identify clearly the best type of representation for particular cases. The critique offered by the paper also reveals that because researchers do not necessarily identify with a lifecycle representation, alternative ways of representing research need to be developed.
The paper offers a systematic analysis of visualisations of research and RDM current in the Library and Information Studies literature revealing the strengths and weaknesses of the lifecycle metaphor.
Cox, A.M. and Tam, W.W.T. (2018), "A critical analysis of lifecycle models of the research process and research data management", Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 70 No. 2, pp. 142-157. https://doi.org/10.1108/AJIM-11-2017-0251Download as .RIS
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