We are pleased to announce a new study and collaboration between the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), Charles Beagrie Ltd (Neil Beagrie), and the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies Victoria University (Prof John Houghton) on the value and impact of the British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC).
The BADC, based at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK, is the Natural Environment Research Council’s (NERC) Designated Data Centre for the Atmospheric Sciences. Its role is to assist UK atmospheric researchers to locate, access, and interpret atmospheric data and to ensure the long-term integrity of atmospheric data produced by NERC projects. Since its establishment, the BADC has become the de facto point of contact for UK researchers needing access to the meteorological products of both the Met Office and the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF). There is also considerable interest from the international research community in BADC data holdings.
The BADC’s significance has grown considerably in the last decade or so and with the use of access statistics and user feedback it has generally been easy for the BADC to demonstrate that it offers a valuable service to its users. However, it is a much more challenging proposition to find ways of analysing BADC usage that make a clear statement about the very important issue of how much economic impact that the BADC has on the sector. The new BADC study funded by JISC and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is intending to investigate in detail exactly this question and to give a clear indication of what the value is of having a free to use and open access data resource like the BADC.
Engaging the expertise of Neil Beagrie of Charles Beagrie Ltd. and Professor John Houghton of the CSES, the project will analyse and survey indicators and perceptions of the value of digital collections held by the BADC and how those indicators and perceptions of value can be measured. The CSES and Charles Beagrie Ltd have led the field in conducting value perception and economic impact surveys for digital repositories and they have recently completed a similar exercise with the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS) in the UK. The report from this work, The Economic Impact Evaluation of the Economic and Social Data Service, is now available from the Economic and Social Science Research Council (ESRC). Another study on the impact of the Archaeology Data Service is also underway in parallel with that for BADC.
A major element of the BADC study will be two forms of stakeholder survey. The first phase will see a selection of users and depositors from all sectors be invited to participate in in-depth interviews, and secondly an online survey will be launched to gauge the levels of use, impacts, and perceptions of value amongst the broadest possible range of BADC users.
Our economic analysis aims to include a range of approaches, starting with the most immediate and direct measures of value that are likely to represent lower bound estimates of the value of BADC data and services and moving outwards to estimates of the wider economic benefits.
We hope this project will not only have immediate benefits for the BADC, its stakeholders and user communities, but will build on previous work to investigate methodologies and good practice in the area of valuation that will be directly applicable to other repositories, in different domains, allowing them to reap the benefits of this work as they seek to analyse their own economic impact.
For further information on the project see the BADC Value and Impact study project web page.