Overseeing research practice: The case of data editing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This article examines whether and how a particular research practice is overseen and supervised, and by whom. This investigation fills notable gaps in the literature on science, including a lack of emphasis on larger sociopolitical structures, a neglect of regulation, and indifference toward ethics. The author focuses on the oversight of a particular research practice; data editing; which embodies qualities that are intriguing to sociologists of science: invisibility, uncertainty, heterogeneity, and reliance on tacit knowledge. These characteristics pose unique challenges to oversight efforts. An analysis of in-depth interviews with gatekeepers reveals that although the methodological and ethical implications of data editing strategies can be substantial, oversight of such practices falls outside the stages and domains of current gatekeeping activity. These findings serve as the basis for recommendations to ensure data integrity while maintaining the professional autonomy of researchers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)605-630
Number of pages26
JournalScience Technology and Human Values
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008


  • Data cleaning
  • Data management
  • Research oversight
  • Scientific regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Philosophy
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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