Support for Establishment of National/Regional
Social Sciences Data Archives

Support for Establishment of National/Regional Social Sciences Data Archives

SERSCIDA is designed as a strategic project for supporting the cooperation and exchange of knowledge between the EU countries associated within the Council of European Social Sciences Data Archives (CESSDA) and the Western Balkan Countries (WBC) in the field of social science data archiving. The project addresses the issues of potentials of usage of information-communication technologies for the benefits of scientific research and exchange of knowledge as laid down in the call for proposals topic. The project aims to produce tangible results and improve the capacities for exchange of knowledge and data collected through research in social sciences between the European countries and WBC involved.




UK Data Service receives funding for new Big Data network centre

 The UK Data Service at the University of Essex has been awarded almost £5 million to form a new service for streamlining research access to Big Data collected by government departments and other agencies.

The money, awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), will allow data experts at the University of Essex to ensure that researchers across the country can effectively and securely access large datasets for research that will directly influence policy and ultimately benefit the public.

At the heart of the project will be the new Administrative Data Service (ADS), led by the UK Data Service. The ADS is being jointly formed with the Administrative Data Liaison Service, which is currently managed by the University of St Andrews.

The ADS infrastructure will provide a one-stop-shop for finding, learning about, and requesting access to administrative data for research.

Melanie Wright, Principal Investigator of the new ADS and Associate Director of the UK Data Service, explained the importance of today's announcement: "Research access to administrative and linked data holds enormous potential – for researchers, for government, and for the people of the UK. You cannot make or evaluate public policy without using administrative data.

"The partners in the UK Data Service have decades of experience in managing research access to all types of data as well as established networks among key stakeholders. These will enable us to bring a dynamic and responsive approach to this initiative that will aid the Government's Big Data ambitions as well as further research in the public interest."

This Administrative Data Network, consisting of the ADS and four new Administrative Data Research Centres (ADRCs), marks the first phase of the ESRC's £64 million investment in a Big Data Network. Two further phases involving new centres for business and local government data, and third sector and social media data, will be established in the coming year.

The ADS will play an overarching role in the network, actively bringing together the four ADRCs. Its core responsibilities will be:

  • to provide a first point of contact for administrative data users and owners
  • be the central point for managing research access requests
  • ensure there is consistency in standards and practice across the network
  • engage with data owners, users and the public to develop a culture of effective and secure data sharing to enable better research for the public benefit
  • to develop capacity and skills in using administrative data for research.

Professor Matthew Woollard, a Co-Investigator of the ADS and Director of the UK Data Service, said: "This is a profoundly important initiative which will help in untangling the legal and security issues relating to the use of routinely produced administrative data. The UK Data Service is hugely proud to have been selected to undertake this coordination role. We expect this to be the beginning of a new dawn for empirically-driven policy-relevant research and place the UK at the forefront of the use of administrative data."

Vice-Chancellor, University of Essex, Professor Anthony Forster added: "It is hugely gratifying that Essex has been chosen to play such a lead role in this immensely important project. It is a reflection of our reputation for excellence in research and specifically as the UK's leading social science university."


Ananuncement taken from UK Data Service web site:


Open Access

'Open Access' refers to the practice of granting free Internet access to research publications and data. As all research and innovation builds on earlier achievements, an efficient system for broad dissemination of and access to research publications and raw data can accelerate scientific progress. The OECD Declaration of 2008 states "that open access to, and unrestricted use of data promotes scientific progress and facilitates the training of researchers," as well as maximizing "the value derived from public investments in data collection efforts." SERSCIDA will address the need for improved and open access to and dissemination of primary data collected through research in social sciences while at the same time trying to support reinforcement of the existing national strategies and structures, and to contribute to development of new ones.