New Services for Social Science Research: RSS Social Statistics event14 December 2009Royal Statistical Society, London

The Economic and Social Research Council has funded two new services to enhance researcher access to data previously unavailable or difficult to access for research.

The Administrative Data Liaison Service (ADLS) will act as a focal point for knowledge about the availability of UK administrative data, their suitability for specific research purposes, and the procedures required to gain access to and use such data. Administrative data, information collected by organisations for routine management processes, has the potential to provide a relatively cheap, potentially less intrusive and yet comprehensive resource for research. Many northern European countries (notably Denmark and Sweden) have placed a much greater emphasis on the development of this type of data than the UK and as a consequence have managed to replace national censuses and major surveys, reducing costs to the taxpayer and the burden on citizens from requests for information. However, it is not an easy resource to use and one that also requires careful consideration of its quality and reliability and the ethical and legal issues that underpin its use.

SDS logo

The Secure Data Service (SDS) will enable safe and secure remote access by bona fide researchers to data heretofore deemed too sensitive, detailed, confidential or potentially disclosive to be made available under standard licensing and dissemination arrangements. Users will be able to access highly detailed and sensitive social data remotely either from their JANET-connected desktop computer, or from a bespoke thin client in a secure room in their home institution, thus eliminating the need for costly and time consuming travel to onsite data enclaves. Users will be required to attend a training course. Once access is granted, the user can return at their leisure to run their analyses, draft papers, share draft outputs with other authorised team members - all securely located on the central SDS servers.

Attendance is free but pre-registration is recommended. You can register by email: or by telephone: +44 (0)20 7638 8998.