Understanding the infrastructure of European Research Infrastructures: The case of the European Social Survey (ESS-ERIC)

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European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERIC) are a new form of legal and financial framework for the establishment and operation of research infrastructures in Europe. Despite their scope, ambition, and novelty, the topic has received limited scholarly attention. This article analyses one ERIC within the social sciences—the European Social Survey (ESS). We observe that the ESS experienced a decline in the number of participating countries upon its acquisition of ERIC status. We explore the links between methodological, organizational, and financial elements in the process through which the ESS became an ERIC using the Bowker and Star’s sociology of infrastructures. We conclude that focusing on ERICs as a European standard for organising and funding research collaboration gives new insights into the problems of membership, durability, and standardisation faced by research infrastructures. It is also a promising theoretical framework for addressing the relationship between the ERIC construct and the large diversity of European Research Infrastructures.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience and Public Policy
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)855-864
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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