The University of Sheffield
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Annual Open Research Lecture 2023: Dr Matthew Hanchard, Qualitative research: Towards a new socio-technical imaginary of open research

posted on 2023-12-13, 15:32 authored by Matthew HanchardMatthew Hanchard

The deposit contains two files - a recording of the talk (MP4 file) and a copy of the presentation slides (PDF file).

The lecture took place on 6th December 2023 at the University of Sheffield. Details of the lecture are as follows:

Dr Matthew Hanchard

Research Associate, Department of Sociological Studies and iHuman institute

Qualitative research: Towards a new socio-technical imaginary of open research

From the 1665 publication of Philosophical Transactions onwards, there has been a clear sociotechnical imaginary - or collective vision of what science ought to be - centring on openness, sharing, and transparency. This openness enables claims to be disproved (or not), which lies in conflict with any closing-down of knowledge-sharing for commercial reasons. These contradictory forces of openness and commercially-motivated closedness led to developments like the internet and Web drawing on reconfigured imaginaries which include some elements of both. As a closed military defence project opened to a small academic community, and then the wider public, the development of the Web was steeped in a free and open-source ethos, albeit with private ventures reaping rewards of collective endeavours. In doing so, it followed a post-World War II configuration of pure science being state-funded or citizen-led, with applied derivatives left to a free market. Operating within this environment, and amidst a turn to neoliberalism, scientific research and publication met monopoly capitalism in the early 2000s, raising concerns over the future accessibility and openness of both pure and applied science.

By the early 2010s, the US Office of the President, European Commission, UNESCO and several funding bodies mandated that the research they fund must be published open access - a move to reassert accessibility, openness, and transparency, for non-applied science at least. This has recently been extended to data, posing challenges for qualitative research - often steeped in interpretivism, which makes data hard to verify. Building on the notion of 'renderability' to articulate claims to transparency from non-STEM research, in place of concepts of reproducibility or replicability, this lecture examines existing examples of open qualitative research to theorise the contours of a new landscape emerging around open qualitative research.



  • There is no personal data or any that requires ethical approval


  • The data complies with the institution and funders' policies on access and sharing

Sharing and access restrictions

  • The data can be shared openly

Data description

  • The file formats are open or commonly used

Methodology, headings and units

  • Headings and units are explained in the files