Document Type

Book Chapter

Book Authors/Editors

Jacob H. Rooksby, ed.


Edward Elgar Publishing

Publication Date



Knowledge and information governance questions are tractable primarily in institutional terms, rather than in terms of abstractions such as knowledge itself or individual or social interests. This chapter offers the modern research university as an example. Practices of data-intensive research by university-based researchers, sometimes reduced to the popular phrase “Big Data,” pose governance challenges for the university. The chapter situates those challenges in the traditional understanding of the university as an institution for understanding forms and flows of knowledge. At a broad level, the chapter argues that the new salience of data exposes emerging shifts in the social, cultural, and economic identities of the university, from missions defined in terms of knowledge as such to missions now defined in terms of data and evidence. University-based knowledge production practices framed by the distinction between basic research and “technology transfer” may no longer be sufficient as a comprehensive rhetorical and institutional paradigm for aligning the university with broad social goals or with intellectual property and information law and policy. The concept of the data-intensive university offers a general outline of a new paradigm.