Summer 2016

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UK Data Service Newsletter

Making Sense of Brexit – the data you need to analyse

Dr Kathryn Simpson, UK Data Service Research Associate was sought after for her expertise in comparative European politics, political behaviour and public opinion during the UK's EU Referendum campaign. Kathryn provided extensive media coverage leading up to the vote, across the United Kingdom and internationally.

In her latest blog post, Making sense of Brexit – the data you need to analyse, she discusses the demand for reliable data to examine the broad ranging issues in the EU Referendum debate. Many of these data can be found at the UK Data Service and can also be used for post-Brexit analysis including, amongst others:...

Winners of Dissertation Prize 2016 announced

Undergraduate Dissertation Prize up for grabs

The winners of the Dissertation Prize 2016 have been announced.

The Dissertation Prize recognises and rewards undergraduate students who demonstrated flair and originality in using quantitative data available through the UK Data Service for their dissertations. Each of the winners were awarded a prize: £500 (1st) £250 (2nd) £150 (3rd).

The winners of the 2016 Dissertation Prize are:...

Concordat on Open Research Data launched

Four of the UK's leading research organisations have today launched a Concordat on Open Research Data proposing a set of principles for working with research data. 

Designed to help ensure that research data created by the UK research community is openly available for use by others, Universities UK, Research Councils UK (RCUK), the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Wellcome Trust have worked together to capture the best practice in the research community. The Concordat is intended to establish sound principles for working with research data, promoting the opening up of data for scrutiny and reuse, whilst protecting privacy, confidentiality and respecting consent terms.

The new ONS Approved Researcher Scheme

The new ONS Approved Researcher SchemeThe directors of the UK Data Service and the Administrative Data Service have today welcomed the new Approved Researcher Scheme from the Office for National Statistics. 

The Approved Researcher scheme was originally introduced by the Office for National Statistics in 2015 and became the gateway through which ONS provided access to microdata which have a risk of disclosure. The scheme has now been reviewed and ONS has consulted widely over the changes being made. The aim of the new scheme is to make research using sensitive data more transparent and to widen access to data to researchers and other user communities who currently have difficulties accessing these type of data. 

Understanding Society Innovation Panel waves 1-8 is available to download

The UK Data Service is pleased to announce the release of Wave 8 of the Understanding Society Innovation Panel (IP). To download the data simply register with the UK Data Service. 

The Innovation Panel is a longitudinal survey designed for researchers to use as a test-bed for innovative ways of collecting data and developing new research ideas. The latest data release (IP8) contains interviews with over 2,000 adults and uses a mixed-mode design, which includes both online and face-to-face interviews. 

The Innovation Panel conducts multiple experiments and methodological tests each year which are submitted to researchers worldwide. The next call for proposals will be launched in February 2017.

UK Data Service and Administrative Data Service welcome new Digital Economy Bill

Directors of the UK Data Service and the Administrative Data Service have today welcomed the government's Digital Economy Bill, saying it will increase the availability of data for researchers, whilst still protecting confidentiality.

The new legislation covers a wide range of digital initiatives and includes improvements to broadband services, a more consistent approach to enforcing intellectual property rights and a clampdown on unsolicited spam emails. The Bill also includes changes to data sharing across government departments which would improve the possibilities of linking government administrative data for research purposes. 

Matthew Woollard, Director of the UK Data Service, said, "The government wants to reform its use of data to deliver better public services and produce world-leading research and statistics. What they've unveiled this week is a significant step towards that, and we particularly welcome the idea of a legal gateway to government data. We currently have multiple gateways, and this will make the process simpler for researchers. The new legislation will increase access to administrative and other unpublished data and the single gateway will also be robust enough to protect people's confidentiality."

Project to gauge current attitudes and practices of researchers to open research

The UK Data Service has secured a grant to investigate the current attitudes and actual practices of researchers to open research, the barriers that inhibit or prevent researchers from practising open research; and the measures research funders can take to mitigate these barriers.

Open research, for this study, is understood to be the sharing and reuse of research outputs, in particular research data, articles and code.

Through a mixed approach, an online survey and focus group discussions with researchers, will investigate:...

Productive visit by team from South Africa's DataFirst

The UK Data Service has been working in partnership with South Africa’s DataFirst as part of an International Centre Partnership Fund sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and South Africa's National Research Foundation (NRF).

A focus of the collaborative project is to investigate the challenges of curating and providing access for the social scientists to 'big' and complex data. The theme of household energy data is used to create use cases for work on our Hadoop data environment currently under construction. So far two knowledge exchange workshops have taken place; the first in London in December last year and the second in January 2016 in Cape Town. Reports on both of these can be found on our blog, with accompanying presentations. 

World Population Day

Each year World Population Day takes place on the 11th July, a day used to raise awareness of important global population issues.

The world population was estimated to be around 7.3 billion in 2015, according to the World Bank World Development Indicators, which is more than double what it was in 1970. Although the population is growing, the rate of growth is slowing around the world.

For 2016 the focus of World Population Day is on “Investing in teenage girls”, and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stated that “With nearly 60 million individuals having fled conflict or disaster, women and adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable” (United Nations, 2015).

To raise awareness of important population issues, we would like to highlight the data held by the UK Data Service about this theme, including data on population growth, teenage pregnancy rate, prevalence of HIV and impact of conflict on education. These examples can be viewed in more detail in our full news story.

Latest GP Patient Survey now available

The results of the latest GP Patient Survey are now available via the GP Patient Survey website.

The GP Patient Survey is a large-scale postal survey run by Ipsos MORI on behalf of NHS England. The survey receives responses from around 850,000 adults in England each year. The latest data are from the July 2016 publication, collected during July-September 2015 and January-March 2016.

Reports and survey materials can be found on the GP Patient Survey website and the analysis tool enables you to look at the survey in more detail, view the results by specific sub-groups and view trends over time.

The GP Patient Survey website also allows patients to compare their GP practice with other practices and with the local and national average.

For more health data see the UK Data Service health theme pages

People and Places: a 21st-Century Atlas of the UK

A new atlas has been produced showing how life in the UK has changed since 2001. Covering over 100 different topics, from housing and employment, to religion, ethnicity and family life, the atlas uses innovative social mapping techniques to visually portray life in the UK over a decade. 

Authors Professor Danny Dorling, Harold MacKinder Professor of human geography at the University of Oxford, and Dr Bethan Thomas, recently retired from the University of Sheffield, used Census data from the UK Data Service and the ONS, combined with supplementary information, to produce continuous population cartograms, where each place is sized according to its population, but still neighbouring the correct area. These maps show that the social divide in the UK is continuing to grow and that new geographical divisions are developing.

UK Data Service welcomes new Director for Access

We are delighted to welcome Katherine McNeill, who joins the UK Data Service as Functional Director for Access. Katherine joins us from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Libraries and brings her extensive knowledge in discovery, access and management of research data to her new role providing leadership for the Access team. Katherine is based at the UK Data Archive at the University of Essex. 
Read more news

Announcing our judging panel for the 2016-2017 UK Data Service Data Impact Fellows Programme

The UK Data Service aims to establish additional ways to support the long-range use of its data and resources by new generations of scholars, extending this usage through the research partnerships they develop and by the students they teach – from the earliest stages of, and throughout their career by establishing a prestigious Impact Fellows programme. Funded by the ESRC the programme aims to provide career development opportunities for scholars at a relatively early stage of their academic careers with a proven record of research. Read about our panel of judges

Young Lives household and child surveys: How we’re supporting researchers using all rounds of Young Lives datasets

Kristine Briones Research Assistant at Young Lives discusses the new release of “constructed files”. All four rounds of data feature about 200 variables selected from the Young Lives household and child surveys. They are available to download from the UK Data Service.

The Young Lives survey is an innovative long-term project investigating the changing nature of childhood poverty in four developing countries. The purpose of the project is to improve understanding of the causes and consequences of childhood poverty and examine how policies affect children’s well-being, in order to inform the development of future policy and to target child welfare interventions more effectively.
Read more blog posts

Importance of government policies in transforming global diets

The First International Conference on Nutrition in 1992 attended by delegates from 159 countries, including 137 ministers, representatives from 144 non-governmental organizations (NGOs), 11 intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and 16 United Nations (UN) organizations, declared that “hunger and malnutrition are unacceptable.” Twenty-two years later researchers from the Universities of Reading, Bologna, London and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) revisit the state of global nutrition and examine the importance of various policy interventions in driving change since 1992, with particular reference to the role of public policies that influence food prices and/or food availability, particularly agricultural policies, trade and investment policies, and consumer-oriented policies.
Read more case studies

Featured this issue

New data resources and developments including our resources for course planning, new theme pages for politics, progress on the new Indian Council for Social Science Research, Michaela Benzeval's video depositing Understanding Society, and the UK Data Service Storify looking back at Brexit.

How the UK Data Service can help if you use data for teaching

The summer break for schools and universities may have only just begun, but if you are planning teaching and course programmes for the next academic year the UK Data Service has resources available to help you. 

Our User Support and Training team work across the UK teaching data skills to higher education students and early-career researchers. Training can be on anything from an introduction to the UK Data Service collections, to hands-on training on using a major survey dataset, or effective data management. For more information on our training please contact us.

Looking for data on politics?

The UK Data Service is pleased to share the new set of theme pages related to politics.

Politics in the broadest sense can be defined as the activity through which people make, preserve and amend the general rules under which they live. In particular, politics refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance, specifically in a state. Politics can be defined in a variety of different ways: the exercise of power, the exercise of authority, the making of collective decisions and the allocation of resources. The UK Data Service holds a variety of data collections related to politics, from key government and longitudinal surveys to international indicators and qualitative historical interviews. These cover topics such as political opinions, civic participation, elections, political parties, and many more.

Welcoming progress on the new Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICCSR) Data Service

Matthew Woollard, Director and Louise Corti, Functional Director for Collections Development and Producer Relations at the UK Data Service provide an update on how the UK Data Service has supported the development of the new Indian Council for Social Science Research (ICSSR) Data Service.
Michaela Benzeval - Depositing data with the UK Data Service

Michaela Benzeval - Depositing data with the UK Data Service

Michaela Benzeval, now Director of Understanding Society discusses the importance of depositing their data with the UK Data Service.

UK Data Service Storify

Read our Storify looking back on the use of data in the UK Data Service collection focused on the campaigns around the EU Referendum.

New data releases

We had a number of new releases this quarter including:

SN 7963 Scottish Household Survey, 2013 and 2014
SN 7962 Experiences of Mothers and Employers: Pregnancy and Maternity-Related Discrimination and Disadvantage, 2014-2015
SN 7961 Annual Population Survey: Well-Being, April 2011 - March 2015: Secure Access
SN 7971 Crime Survey for England and Wales, 2014-2015: Special Licence Access, Sexual Identity Variable  (also released each year to 2008-2009)
SN 7972 British Election Study, 2015: Face-to-Face Post-Election Survey
SN 7997 Employer Skills Survey, 2015: Special Licence Access
SN 8009 English Housing Survey, 2014-2015: Household Data
SN 7998 National Employer Skills Survey, 2003: Special Licence Access, 2004 and 2005
SN 7992 Living Costs and Food Survey, 2014 and Special Licence Access
SN 7994 Scottish Surveys Core Questions, 2012 and 2014
SN 8002 Census 2011 Microdata Teaching File for Scotland: Unrestricted Access
SN 7985 Quarterly Labour Force Survey, January - March, 2016 and Special Licence Access
SN 7991 Quarterly Labour Force Survey Household Dataset, January - March, 2016
SN 7988 Labour Force Survey Five-Quarter Longitudinal Dataset, January 2015 - March 2016 and July 2010 – December 2015: Secure Access
SN 7979 National Survey of Bereaved People, 2015 (also released 2012 to 2014) and Special Licence Access (also released 2012 to 2014)
SN 7950 Household Survey for Evaluation of Lebanon Women's Empowerment Project, 2014: Special Licence Access
SN 7956 European Union Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Survey, 2012: Special Licence Access
SN 7960 Childcare and Early Years Provision: Parents' Survey, 2014-2015

This is just a small selection of the many new data collections released this quarter.

If you want to keep informed of all our new data releases and new editions, you can receive a weekly comprehensive list by subscribing to JiscMail.

You can also browse all the latest updates in our collection using our Discover interface.

Data in the pipeline

*Our Collections Development team are currently negotiating the acquisition of a number of collections, including:

Northern Ireland Health Survey, 2011-2012, 2012-2013, 2013-2014
Millennium Villages Project (MVP) in Northern Ghana: 2013-2014

ONS Studies for the Secure Lab:
UK Innovation Survey, 2014-2015
Births Registrations, England and Wales, 1982-2014
*Data delivery dates may be subject to change. Find out more about how we make our data available on our regular depositor's page.


Here is a selection of events on economic and social data:

Future events

Events during the next quarter include:
To see a comprehensive list, visit our events page and view our 2016 Programme of Webinars.

Past events

Events and workshops our experts have taken part in include:
The full list of past events and their related presentations can be found on the past events page.

Let us showcase your work

Write for us: the Data Impact Blog is a hub for anyone interested in maximising the impact of social, population and economic data in research and policy. If you would like to contribute to the blog, please contact us at
Case studies: every day, data from the UK Data Service collection are used to inform research, influence policy and teach the next generation of social scientists. If you would like to submit a case study, simply download the form.
Data Impact Blog
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