Processing, Archiving and Dissemination of ESS Data: The Work of the Norwegian Social Science Data Services
Keywords:European Social Survey
barriers to data
data life cycle
data and metadata dissemination
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Citation:Ask: Research and Methods. Volume 19, Issue 1 (2010), pp. 51-92
Ever since the advent of the social science data archive movement, the work to reduce financial, technical, legal and administrative barriers between users and data resources has been a recurring theme, indeed a driving force behind the development of many of these institutions. Deploying a data life cycle approach, this article is an attempt to illustrate how the endeavour to reduce these barriers is tackled in the context of the biannual European Social Survey (ESS). The authors argue that the ESS’ organisational structure, in which the Central Coordinating Team constitutes the backbone, is an important factor in overcoming barriers previously caused by lack of standardisation and harmonisation in cross-national surveys of this kind. Moreover, the introduction of cutting-edge data access arrangements, has lowered the legal and institutional barriers between ESS data producers and users substantially. This includes giving users without access to more sophisticated statistical packages the opportunity to browse and analyse data through the online data distribution tool Nesstar. However, the authors also suggest that the cumulative nature of surveys such as the ESS, poses a counterforce to the process of reducing barriers, challenging the data archives to seek new ways of improving the structure and design of their main dissemination channels. The authors are all involved in the ESS at the Norwegian Social Science Data Services (NSD). NSD is one of the seven scientific partners in the project and has served as data archive for the ESS since its inception.
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