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The UK is home to the world's largest and longest-running longitudinal studies.

Cohort and Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources (CLOSER) aims to maximise their use, value and impact both at home and abroad.

Bringing together eight leading studies, the British Library and the UK Data Archive, CLOSER works to stimulate interdisciplinary research, develop shared resources, provide training, and share expertise.

A central component of CLOSER is the development of metadata discovery platform that is providing a portal to hundreds of thousands of variables, questions, and data collection instruments from across the CLOSER portfolio of studies.

The platform:

  • holds cohort metadata covering survey and biomedical data collection, including detailed information on survey questions, instruments and variables, and the links between them
  • categorises those metadata according to standardised naming conventions, including classification by subject or topic
  • uses the DDI-Lifecycle international metadata standard, which is designed to mark-up cohort and longitudinal studies
  • provides links within and across the studies' metadata, enabling researchers to see whether a question has been used more than once within a study, or by multiple studies
  • allows users to produce a list of variables and directs them to where they might obtain the data.

The UK Data Service leads the work on the platform's development. A beta version will be launched in the summer 2015.

Archive contribution

Principal investigator:  Alison Park
Funder:  Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)/Medical Research Council (MRC)
Dates:  January 2012 - September 2019
Contact:  UK Data Service helpdesk
Links:  Project website
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