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Transparent Access to Research Data and Data Offerings for Comparative Analyses across Space and Time - the GESIS Data Archive is Dividing Itself into Two New Departments

Categories: Pressemitteilung

The GESIS Data Archive for the Social Sciences is being divided into two new departments, in which each is concentrating on their main field of activity. The department Data Services for the Social Sciences (DSS) provides access to FAIR data for science and is expanding its expertise in research data management. The Survey Data Curation (SDC) department prepares data for comparative analyses over space and time and is including data enrichment with new data formats. 

Since its foundation in 1960, the tasks of the GESIS Data Archive for the Social Sciences have steadily grown. The core task of the department is long-term archiving and creating access to social science research data. It archives survey data and prepares it in such a way that it can be linked, found, and evaluated. For this purpose, extensive expertise has been built up, especially in research data management, which the department passes on to researchers as an ambassador for FAIR data. 

For comparative research approaches, long-standing survey programmes in which GESIS is involved are made available. In addition to integration and accumulations for comparative analyses over time, this also includes data harmonisation from international survey programmes on specific topics, data enrichment with information for georeferencing, and linking data from different data sources such as social media data. 

Both of these areas are characterised by a high degree of complexity and dynamics. To develop them strategically and to align them with the needs of the scientific community, partitioning the work processes, the underlying research areas and the management stands to reason.

“GESIS has therefore decided to split the previous data archive into two departments, each focusing on one of the areas. These have been committed to their remits since 1 June 2021. Together with the staff, we have developed promising strategies for the two new departments that will help us to align our services even better with the needs of researchers and to focus our research more strongly," summarises Prof. Dr. Christof Wolf, President of GESIS.

The mission of the new department Data Services for the Social Sciences (DSS) is to make data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-Usable) and to promote reproducible research in the quantitative social sciences. To ensure that data holdings remain usable and interpretable over the long term, even as technology or the needs of the research community change, it provides sustainable infrastructures and services for data management, curation, and long-term archiving. These include archiving services with different curation levels for different needs as well as access to archived data including access to sensitive data in the GESIS Secure Data Center. The data registration agency da|ra and training on data management for easier retrieval and re-analysis of data complete the portfolio.

The new department Survey Data Curation (SDC) curates and enriches data versions of our data collections as well as other studies of particular interest to the scientific community with additional information to support research in comparative analyses over space and time. To this end, work on temporal and content harmonisation as well as georeferencing of the data is being strengthened. Curated data includes long-term national (e.g. ALLBUS, GLES, Politbarometer, FReDA) and international (e.g. ISSP, EVS, CSES, Eurobarometer) survey programmes with a wide range of users. Currently new possibilities are being developed for linking digital behavioural data and other data formats. 

Empirical social research will benefit from the division into the two areas of responsibility: on the one hand, through the expansion of expertise and offerings for transparent and secure access to research data and, on the other hand, through expanded possibilities for analysis of special data compilations.

To the page of the Data Services for the Social Sciences (DSS) department
To the page of the Survey Data Curation (SDC) department