Demonstrating the Value & Impact of ISSDA

Demonstrating the Value & Impact of ISSDA‌This report outlines the results of the Irish Social Science Data Archive (ISSDA) Impact Survey carried out in May, 2017. Using the results of this user survey we demonstrate the impact of ISSDA on researchers and the research landscape in Ireland and further afield.

ISSDA provides access to high quality, large-scale datasets that require considerable resources to collect and prepare. Over 70% of our respondents said that the data provided by ISSDA is ‘very important’ for their work.

By providing access to the wider research community ISSDA ensures that these datasets are available for secondary analysis and that the full potential of the data can be realised. Access to these datasets has also allowed researchers to improve and develop their own data analysis skills and has allowed wider access to national datasets for use in a teaching environment.

The largest societal impact of access to data through ISSDA has been in the area of evidence-based policy development. By making data easily accessible to researchers ISSDA is facilitating research relevant to policy-making.

In addition to this the feedback received from the survey clearly demonstrates the high level of service delivered by ISSDA staff and the positive impact this has on the research landscape in Ireland.

With the benefits of data sharing becoming more widely acknowledged at Government, University and funder levels ISSDA’s services are becoming more relevant than ever. As one respondent said this is a “great example of how research data should be shared”. 

Additionally a process has been agreed with the Irish Research Council for formalising ISSDA’s role as the Irish Service Provider within the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA). CESSDA provides large scale, integrated and sustainable data services to the social sciences. It brings together social science data archives across Europe, with the aim of promoting the results of social science research and supporting national and international research and cooperation. This offers a significant opportunity for broader access to comparative datasets through CESSDA, promoting international data that would be useful in comparative studies with Irish survey data.

Not all data needs to be, or should be, fully ‘open’. By controlling access via an End User Licence the data are available for Research or Teaching purposes thereby safeguarding access to the data in compliance with Data Protection regulations, while still providing wide access to them. With the introduction of the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in May 2018, this moderated access to anonymised data will become even more important. As more and more funders are requiring that data are shared at the end of a project ISSDA is cementing its position as Ireland’s leading centre for quantitative data acquisition, preservation, and dissemination.

Demonstrating the Value & Impact of ISSDA‌‌