Qualitative Data Preservation and Re-Use in Sweden – Neoliberal Courses, Forces and Discourses

Monday, 16 July 2018: 18:15
Oral Presentation
Zoran SLAVNIC, Linköping University, Sweden
The discourse of openness has proved to be very powerful instrument for promoting the new research policies and (neoliberal) reforms of the higher education in all so-called advanced economies. It has triggered positive democracy- transparency- and accountability-related associations when used in the context of politics, fair resource distribution when used in the sphere of public service, and free access to information and knowledge when used in the field of science and higher education.

At the same time, international research shows that of university's autonomy is increasingly being attacked, reduced and marginalized by the same policies. Non-academic (power) instances impose new, for the academy so far unknown, criteria such as 'accountability' ‘performance’, ‘quality assurance’, ‘good practices’. They also impose ideas about what a good research is, which scientific method is to be prioritized and what the good data is. The process of de-professionalization and proletarianization of the academic profession is increasingly affecting the academy. All this obviously does not have much in common with the above described open access discourse.

The purpose of this paper is to show to what extent and in which way all this applies to Sweden. Courses, forces and discourses of the national research infrastructure development policy in general, and qualitative data preservation policy in particular are described and discussed. The preliminary results show that actual policy documents generally focus on competition rather than exchange. There is an obvious trend towards marketization and privatization of basic research. Regarding the policy related to preservation and re-use of qualitative data, the qualitative research community has been completely excluded from the policy creation and implementation, qualitative data has been treated essentially in the neo-positivist way, i.e. as if it is quantitative data and the whole process has been characterized by complete absence of any academic debate on these issues.