Given the combination of recent mandates from funding agencies for data management plans and data sharing, and the explosion of data in digital form over the past two decades, it is time for the qualitative social science community to embrace digital archiving as an inherent component of research methodology. Archiving digital data ensures, at the least, that an individual scholar’s data is preserved and accessible to the user many decades into his or her career. Digital archiving also has the potential to preserve for the broader scholarly community, the full range of social science knowledge far beyond an individual researcher’s lifespan, or field site. However, the qualitative social science community has shown resistance to the archiving and data sharing movement. In this article I discuss the key debates around data archiving and sharing for qualitative research community, with particular attention to ethnographic data, and outline basic steps qualitative researchers can take as they begin to implement plans for digital archiving in their own research methodology.

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Published in The Qualitative Report, v. 18, no. 24, p. 1-11.

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