Social science researchers may be interested in an announcement by ESRC that it will be investing £17 million over five years in a new data archive service to support researchers in academia, business, third sector and government. ESRC states that the new service will provide a unified point of access to a wide range of economic and social data, including census data. It is designed to provide seamless access and support to meet the current and future research demands of both academic and non-academic users, and to help them maximise the impact of their work.
The UK Data Service will be created from the integration of the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS), the Census Programme, the Secure Data Service and other elements of the data service infrastructure currently provided by the ESRC. The integration follows an economic evaluation of ESDS, which reveals that for every pound currently invested in data and infrastructure, the service returns £5.40 in net economic value to users and other stakeholders. This compares favourably with the return on investment previously demonstrated for the British Library and for UK academic libraries in general.
It isn’t clear from the announcement exactly how this will affect the UK Data Archive, which will be included in the new service, or researchers who deposit their research data in it.
For more information, see the ESRC’s announcement at http://www.esrc.ac.uk/news-and-events/press-releases/22231/new-national-digital-repository-for-social-and-economic-data.aspx