Assessing the Economic Impact of Digital Preservation and Data Curation

We are pleased to announce that the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) in the UK has published the report of the Economic Impact Evaluation of the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) to coincide with the launch of the new UK Data Service that succeeds it.

The ESDS has its origins in the UK Data Archive established over 40 years ago and this one of the longest standing research data archives and proponents of digital preservation in the World. The impact evaluation therefore may be of interest to the digital preservation and data curation communities beyond the social sciences and economics, particularly as quantitative as well as qualitative evidence of impact in our fields is still relatively rare.

The Economic Impact Evaluation of the Economic and Social Data Service report (PDF file) was produced by Charles Beagrie Ltd and the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES) Victoria University and was authored by Neil Beagrie, John Houghton, Anna Palaiologk and Peter Williams. It combines approaches for qualitative and quantitative assessment of impact drawing on methodologies from Keeping Research Data Safe and more generally from economics and the social sciences.

An extract from the ESRC/ESDS press release of 24 July announcing the UK Data Service is as follows:

Continuing access to the most valuable collection of social and economic data in the UK has been secured with a £17 million investment over five years for the UK Data Service. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the new service is structured to support researchers in academia, business, third sector and all levels of government.

The new service, starting on 1 October 2012, will integrate 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, including the UK Data Archive.

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.

The UK Data Service will provide a unified point of access to the extensive range of high quality economic and social data, including valuable 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 represents a significant step forward in our strategy,” says ESRC’s Chief Executive, Professor Paul Boyle. “As data are the lifeblood of research, our aim is to consolidate resources in a way that expands both the reach and impact of these vital investments. It will become a cornerstone for UK research; the place to go for high quality data and support.”

“Between our services we have an impressive collection of rich research data,” says Dr Matthew Woollard, director of the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) and the UK Data Archive. “We are dedicated to the reuse, sharing and archiving of data because we know the effect it can have on the wider society. Together, we look forward to becoming the UK Data Service so we can continue to build on these excellent data and services to generate even more impact.”

The full press release can be accessed here.

Trackback this Post | Feed on comments to this Post

Leave your Comment