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Dossiers RFSIC à paraître

N°24 | Data Paper: the rise of a new scientific model of production and management of data

Coordinated by Gérald Kembellec, Olivier Le Deuff


The natural and formal sciences have nowadays developed protocols that lead them to collect and publish their experimental data for the purposes of analysis and reproducibility, when the competitive context allows it, of course.

  • 1 Ex. Réseau Quetelet : réseau français des centres de données pour les sciences sociales http://www. (...)

The social sciences are not to be outdone, with qualitative and quantitative data from investigations which, once analysed, standardized and formalized, will be processed using statistical methods to respond to disciplinary problems. While data from opinion polls and quantitative surveys can be easily published once they have been anonymised, the same cannot be said of interview records, which, with rare exceptions, are not intended for publication1.

Initiatives in the Humanities are rarer, in particular because the approaches are diverse, but also because the culture is rather to take care of the final written form to the point of not burdening the reader with additional elements. However, the scientific approaches that have taken hold of the humanities since the advent of the digital humanities and the integration of massive corpus processing tools are causing changes in the practices of disseminating research results and materials.

From the 2010s onwards, research funding agencies in Europe have taken up the issue of data, with the ANR (French national funding agency for the research) in the specific case of France. Thus, since 2012, Europe has made researchers aware of the integration of data management issues with Horizon 2020 calls. France, in its desire to be part of a digital transformation, proposed a general framework with the law for a digital republic in 2016, which found its echo in the scientific world with the Committee for Open Science (CoSO) and the Digital Scientific Library (BSN) (Rebouillat, 2019). Moreover, like Horizon 2020, the ANR systematically requests a data management plan concerning projects funded since 2019. The topics that are addressed are obviously as much about researchers' practices with studies as about sharing itself: what to share, to whom and how to do it, who is in charge and for which benefits?

The data paper object

As well as the transformation of research practises, scientific editorialization is undergoing successive and timely evolutions in which publications that take into account the subject of data are included. Data Papers are part of these new approaches, which consist of publishing not only the results of research, but also the data on which analyses are based (Schöpfel & al., 2019). The Humanities and Social Sciences have their role to play in this phenomenon. Indeed, they have always been in possession of data in documentary form, from the initial literature to scientific publications and pictures.

The data paper seen from communities of information science and communication studies

As far as Communication and Information Sciences (CIS) are concerned, the approach appears to be a return to disciplinary essentials. Paul Otlet recommended the development of new tools and new treatments in 1934: "Humanity is at a turning point in its history. The mass of data acquired is huge. New instruments are needed to simplify and condense it, or intelligence will never be able to overcome the difficulties that overwhelm it, nor to achieve the progress it foresees and to which it aspires" (Otlet, 1934).

In order to overcome this amount of data, in scientific fields in particular, it would seem appropriate to opt for good documentary management of the produced data in order to ensure their conservation, interoperability and accessibility.

Issues and uses

The challenges of Open Science and Open Access to scientific publications are therefore extended by putting research data available (Open Research Data), but in order to encourage the use and citation of data, simple sharing is not enough: qualified data that meets standards in terms of formalism is essential. The principles of FAIR (findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reliability) data (Wilkinson, 2016) are now recognized and defended by several institutions, including libraries.

In this context, the information science and communication studies appear to be well positioned to study the issues of qualification, documentation, communicability of scientific data and scientific communication in its renewed forms.

A datalogy

For this issue, we are asking for contributions that adopt the form of the data paper. No theme is imposed, except that the subject of study must be a subject addressed by the information science and communication studies.

In this issue, we would like to promote work that is in line with open fair science and that will allow for the reuse of the data materials that will be provided. We will also ensure that the methodological processes are clearly defined and detailed in order to understand how the data is obtained and the potential conditions for its reuse. The issue is open to a diversity of approaches. There are indeed several types of data papers and it is not in the interest of information science and communication studies to have uniformity in this area, as the community is so rich in approaches and methodologies.


European Commission (2016). H2020 Program: Guidelines on FAIR Data Management in Horizon 2020. Version 3.0.

Kembellec, G. (2019). Produire, analyser et partager des données ouvertes en Humanités Numériques : Quelques bonnes pratiques. 12ème Colloque international d’ISKO-France, Données et mégadonnées ouvertes en SHS : de nouveaux enjeux pour l’état et l’organisation des connaissances ?

Le Deuff, Olivier (2016). « Anatomie et nouvelle organologie de l’édition ouverte », Revue française des sciences de l’information et de la communication 8,2016, DOI :

Otlet, Paul. (1934). Traité de documentation. Le livre sur le livre. Bruxelles: Palais Mondial.

Rebouillat, V. (2019). Ouverture des données de la recherche : De la vision politique aux pratiques des chercheurs. Thèse de doctorat du Conservatoire national des arts et métiers, Paris.

Schöpfel, J. (2018). Hors norme ? Une approche normative des données de la recherche. In. Revue Communication, Organisation, Société du Savoir et Information.

Schöpfel, J., Farace, D., Prost, H., & Zane, A. (2019). Data papers as a new form of knowledge organization in the field of research data., 12nd Colloque international d’ISKO-France : Données et mégadonnées ouvertes en SHS : de nouveaux enjeux pour l’état et l’organisation des connaissances ?

Urfist Méditerranée & INRA. (2018, mai 28). Le contenu d’un data paper. Consulté 14 décembre 2019, à l’adresse Doranum website:

Wilkinson, Mark D.; Dumontier, Michel; Aalbersberg, IJsbrand Jan; Appleton, Gabrielle; et al. (15 March 2016). "The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship". Scientific Data. 3: 160018. doi:10.1038/sdata.2016.18.

Terms of submission of contributions

Articles must be submitted by the end of September 2021 at the latest in the form of a text of no more than 35,000 characters (including spaces and bibliography, 5 keywords, a title) addressed to and (you will receive an acknowledgement of receipt).

In the article, you are requested to respect the authors' anonymity, even if reference is made to their previous publications. Articles will be evaluated in a double-blind manner. Proposals can be written in English or French.

The guide for writing articles can be consulted on the following link: - Please respect it scrupulously.


  • Submission of papers for evaluation: end of September 2021

  • Notification of the evaluation: end of November 2021

  • Submission of final texts: end of December 2021

  • Expected publication: mid-January 2022.


1 Ex. Réseau Quetelet : réseau français des centres de données pour les sciences sociales

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