Data Centres in the University: From Tools to Symbols of Power and Transformation

Pablo Rivera-Vargas, Cristóbal Cobo, Judith Jacovkis, Ezequiel Passerón

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The almost compulsory and compulsive use of digital platforms through which the university community connects to knowledge, research, teaching and management activities has intensified in the pandemic. Faced with this challenge, higher education institutions must address fundamental questions about learning in a postdigital landscape. This chapter explores how universities have created or adapted research centres to deal with data generation in their day-to-day activities. Although the centres analysed in this chapter have different profiles and expertise, they all seek to better prepare higher education institutions to cope with the datafication of society manifested in different ways (e.g. digital inclusion, artificial intelligence, privacy, ethical use of data, etc.). Based on a co-design and virtual ethnography, this work is structured in two phases: (1) identification and analysis of 31 websites affiliated to university datafication centres and (2) selection and deepening on four core dimensions of work of these centres. These comparative results highlight global trends, research agendas and priorities, but also illustrate the need to move towards a more multidisciplinary approach, understanding data not only as “tools” but also as “subjects” with an increasingly economical and symbolic power.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHigher Education Dynamics
PublisherSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Publication series

NameHigher Education Dynamics
ISSN (Print)1571-0378
ISSN (Electronic)2215-1923


  • Digital platforms
  • Educational innovations
  • Educational technology
  • University

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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