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SPA Joins National Alliance to Help Preserve At-Risk Social Science Data

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AU School of Public Affairs (SPA) has been chosen to join a select consortium of institutions, including Harvard and Cornell Universities, as part of the Data Preservation Alliance for the Social Sciences (Data-PASS). As an official affiliate, the SPA research community will have access to a rich set of high-quality records for free.

“The mission of Data-PASS is to make data more readily available and get journals to be better about archiving, replication, and transparency,” said Jeff Gill, Director of SPA’s Data Science Center and SPA Distinguished Professor with a joint appointment AU’s Department of Math and Statistics. “The idea is to have social science data preserved in a very open and public way.”

SPA’s new Center for Data Science joins 10 other voluntary partners with Data-PASS. Gill noted that the center can assist students and faculty in downloading and processing the newly available files. The social science data include opinion polls, voting records, surveys on family growth and income, social network data, government statistics and indices, and GIS data measuring human activity.

Data-PASS was established with funding from the Library of Congress in 2004 to create a sustainable partnership model for preserving at-risk social science data. Now, the coalition supports itself with research grants and support from its partner organizations. Since its establishment, Data-PASS has drafted archival standards and worked to develop technology solutions to strengthen preservation and access to data.

Other partners include: The Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research (CISER) at Cornell University; Databrary, based at New York University and at Pennsylvania State University; The Electronic and Special Media Records Service Division, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); The Howard W. Odum Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; The Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) at Harvard University; The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) at the University of Michigan; IPUMS Center for Data Integration at the University of Minnesota; The Qualitative Data Repository (QDR) at Syracuse University; The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research and the Social Science Data Archive at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).