East meets west: Archive and ISER share insights with Chinese survey research centre

Article dated: 2 July 2012

The UK Data Archive opened its doors to a group of visitors from the National Survey Research Centre at Renmin University of China on 28 June 2012.

The delegation travelled to the University of Essex to learn firsthand from experts at the Archive and the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), both seen as international leaders in producing, archiving and providing access to digital survey research data.

Visitors from Renmin University of China with UK Data Archive staff

Archive and Renmin staff

Pictured left to right:

  • Ding Li, Assistant Professor of National Survey Research Centre
  • Jack Kneeshaw, Service Manager, UK Data Archive
  • Yongjin Jin, Director of Applied Statistics Centre
  • Louise Corti, Associate Director, UK Data Archive
  • Matthew Woollard, Director, UK Data Archive
  • Wei Yuan, Director of National Survey Research Centre
  • Melanie Wright, Associate Director, UK Data Archive
  • Weidong Wang, Vice Director of National Survey Research Centre
  • Mike King, Systems and Preservation Manager, UK Data Archive

The visiting scholars included principal investigators of three large-scale national survey projects: the Chinese General Social Survey, the China Consumer Confidence Survey and the Beijing College Panel Survey. They have recently received funding from the Natural Science Foundation of China to build a national survey data archive.

The visit was also an opportunity for the University to explore other avenues for partnering on initiatives to support global research and postdoctoral education.

During the visit, both sides quickly discovered they have much in common.

"We found we speak a common language," said Matthew Woollard, Director of the UK Data Archive, "one that's centred on the importance of high-quality data that can fuel social science research around the world. We also discovered a mutual interest in collecting old computing memorabilia."

Essex is one of the UK's leading universities for the social sciences and is home to numerous world-leading departments.

The UK Data Archive holds the country's largest collection of digital research data in the social sciences and humanities with its staff recognised as leading authorities in managing and curating data.

ISER's world-class team of survey and research experts specialises in the production and analysis of longitudinal data – evidence which tracks changes in the lives of the same people over time. Understanding Society, the largest longitudinal study of its kind ever undertaken in the UK, is based at ISER and made available to researchers through the UK Data Archive.