AbstractData has been closely related to all the e-research fields, be it e-science, e-social sciences or e-humanities. There are increasing amount of descriptive studies on the current data needs of different discipline, there are also best practices of data management developed with the mindset of taking care of data during its whole life cycle. But among all these hot discussions of the opportunities and challenges that data is bringing to the world, there haven't been enough philosophical thoughts or reflections on data's advantages and limitations under the consideration of the different goals of science, social sciences, and humanities' inquiries. This paper will start from Jürgen Habermas' epistemology of knowledge and human interests; then examine different e-research fields and their data usage trends with new theoretical lens of their ultimate missions, that is how well they have helped human beings instrumentally control the world, ideally change the society, and easily understand each other across temporal and spatial dimensions. We could then also have a higher level of vision about what might be possible in the future that data could help each research fields to accomplish.
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