Creating a Digital Archive for Doing Research on the Production of Social Science Knowledge
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
The poster outlines the five steps for developing the digital archive. These are: 1) Digitizing all manuscripts, reviews and relevant correspondence using optical character recognition (OCR) scanning to create searchable files; 2) Building a relational database of authors and reviewers with contact information, additional individual demographics such as gender and institution, and coded manuscript topics; 3) Securing permission from authors and reviewers to place their work in the archive in the form of identifiable files, which will allow for much more complex research on networks and academic careers; 4) Merging the database of author and reviewer information with the database of scanned manuscripts and reviews and then de-identifying those files for which we do not have permission to include identified copies; and 5) Establishing access requirements for and publicizing the availability of the research archive. This final step includes presenting a detailed research proposal, a notarized list of those working on the research, a plan for maintaining confidentiality, and a plan for managing the data. As part of a confidentiality agreement, researchers will agree to use aggregated data only with no identifying information. Once the archive is finished, we will develop and publish an instruction manual for training purposes as well as a data codebook. This will include testing sample hypotheses as examples.
We are currently in the midst of completing this process for the American Sociological Review (ASR), which is ASA’s flagship (general subject area) journal.
Other social science disciplines should be able to follow our method and create comparable digital archives so that changes in disciplinary paradigms, methods, and networks can be compared.