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What's in store for ESRC researchers?

Article dated: 24 July 2008

The ESRC Research Methods Festival at Oxford was the venue, on 30 June 2008, for the launch of UKDA-store, a new self-archiving system for the storage and sharing of primary research data outputs in the social and behavioural sciences.Research Methods Festival

Research data and output sharing is an important part of publicly-funded research, and research funders are increasingly implementing formal data sharing polices, in line with high-level recommendations and policies made by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and others. The ESRC was one of the first UK funding bodies to initiate a data sharing policy and fund an archive to house research data generated as a result of its funding. The fact that a rich and diverse stock of social and economic data is now available to the wider community is a testament to this forward thinking. UKDA-store is complementary to the formal preservation and dissemination system for data that are offered by the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) via the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Data Policy. While the UKDA-store system can hold all kinds of digital objects from numeric and textual datasets to technical and research reports, it can also link virtually to outputs held in other repositories. UKDA-store will enable a greater number of research data outputs to be shared by investigators, in cases where ESDS may not have the resources to acquire and store these data, or where the data simply do not fit the ESDS collections development policy.

UKDA-store, developed with funding support from the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), uses a state of the art open source repository system based on FEDORA to allow contributors to manage their own data and research outputs. The benefit to users searching for a range of research outputs is that the system allows linking between research funding information, research outputs, publications and archived data sources.

Phase I is geared to ESRC researchers, who have submitted data resources at the end of their awards, where data are deemed to be more suited to a self-archiving repository system than formalised acquisition and preservation with ESDS.

Ian Diamond, CEO of the ESRC, speaking at the launch of UKDA-store held at the National Centre for Research Methods Festival at St Catherine’s College welcomed the system as "a tremendous advance for UK social science research".

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