Recent studies of scholarly data work argue that whatever researchers handle as data and, in particular, what researchers consider as potential evidence for supporting claims, counts as data. In this article I extend the relational approach towards data to the various ways of dealing with data in the course of a single research project. Relying on an example from ecology, I argue that data gain presence for and occupy researchers in manifold ways: for example, as a promise, desire or pressure, or as a problem of trust and strength. In this way we notice that data, in the eyes of researchers, have more than one mode of existence, each of which is linked with its own expectations, challenges and actions. And we notice that these modes of existence not only coexist in the framework of a single project, but can also compete with each other.

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