Building an Open Data Repository for a Specialized Research Community: Process, Challenges and Lessons


  • Limor Peer
  • Ann Green



In 2009, the Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS) at Yale University began building an open access digital collection of social science experimental data, metadata, and associated files produced by ISPS researchers. The digital repository was created to support the replication of research findings and to enable further data analysis and instruction. Content is submitted to a rigorous process of quality assessment and normalization, including transformation of statistical code into R, an open source statistical software. Other requirements included: (a) that the repository be integrated with the current database of publications and projects publicly available on the ISPS website; (b) that it offered open access to datasets, documentation, and statistical software program files; (c) that it utilized persistent linking services and redundant storage provided within the Yale Digital Commons infrastructure; and (d) that it operated in accordance with the prevailing standards of the digital preservation community. In partnership with Yale’s Office of Digital Assets and Infrastructure (ODAI), the ISPS Data Archive was launched in the fall of 2010. We describe the process of creating the repository, discuss prospects for similar projects in the future, and explain how this specialized repository fits into the larger digital landscape at Yale.






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