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Research data sharing behaviour of engineering researchers in Norway and the UK: uncovering the double face of Janus

Mari Louise Mallasvik (Information School, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
Jorge Tiago Martins (Information School, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK) (VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Espoo, Finland)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 18 December 2020

Issue publication date: 18 February 2021




In a context of growing policy pressures to increase the societal impact of Higher Education Institutions (HEI), open access to research data has gained increased significance, in spite of the limited availability of standard procedures and protocols, particularly in the engineering disciplines. In this article, we explore how engineering researchers' engagement with such external environment pressures impacts the conventional dimensions of engineering research work, and how engineering researchers within engineering HEI resolve potential tensions and make sense of their research data sharing practices.


We use an institutional logics theoretical perspective to qualitatively examine research data sharing behaviours of researchers in Norway and the UK as leading engineering research centres, through the use of policy analysis and narrative interviews.


The findings indicate that research data sharing behaviours are heavily mediated by institutional rules and rationalities that inform researchers' attitudes, but the logics that prize openness and sharing co-exist with logics that favour control and self-interest.


Our findings suggest that logics-specific variations in engineering researchers' identities and goals are of paramount importance to policymakers, research funders and academic leaders striving to support HEI in their efforts to augment the societal impact of research.



The authors would like to thank the editor, Professor David Bawden, and the anonymous referees whose comments and reviews helped us to greatly improve the paper.


Mallasvik, M.L. and Martins, J.T. (2021), "Research data sharing behaviour of engineering researchers in Norway and the UK: uncovering the double face of Janus", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 77 No. 2, pp. 576-593.



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