Autumn 2016

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UK Data Service Newsletter



The UK Data Service hosted a panel session and networking event on 13 October at the Lighthouse in Glasgow. A panel comprising some of Scotland's leading data innovators explored data re-use in policy and research, sharing their experiences of demonstrating data enhanced impact. See our Storify and short video of the event and read Urban Tide's lessons from #DataImpact2016.

5 Safes animation - safely using secure data

5 Safes animation - safely using secure dataWe are happy to announce the release of our new short video describing the principles for providing safe and secure access to confidential and sensitive microdata. Using the 5 Safes enables researchers to carry out work that would not usually be possible with anonymised data - a real advantage for researchers, maximising the potential of the data.

The UK Data Service has provided such access for almost five years via its Secure Lab using the 5 Safes framework, a set of five simple protocols that provide complete assurance for data owners and researchers:

  • safe data
  • safe projects
  • safe people
  • safe settings
  • safe outputs

Office for National Statistics Special Licence Review

Office for National Statistics Special Licence Review The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Approved Researcher Scheme is the legal gateway used to grant access to potentially disclosive microdata such as those made available under a Special Licence, for statistical research purposes. As a recent review of the scheme concluded that Approved Researchers should only access legally protected data in a secure environment, ONS is stopping the distribution of Special Licence data. As a result, new orders and applications for ONS Special Licence datasets submitted after 4 November 2016 will not be considered.

Existing research projects using ONS Special Licence data will be allowed to continue and conclude under the agreements already in place. However, if additional Special Licence data are required for these projects after 4 November 2016, researchers will need to apply for the Secure Access versions of the data which contain all the variables in the Special Licence version, but with more detail. No other ONS data available from the UK Data Service (i.e., End User Licence and Secure Access versions) will be affected.
As part of these changes, ONS and the UK Data Service will be working together on a review of all data collections hosted by the UK Data Service currently made available through the ONS Special Licence.

Data Impact Fellows 2016 announced


We are delighted to announce that we have appointed our UK Data Service Data Impact Fellows for 2016-2018.

The programme is designed to support the use of UK Data Service data and resources by new generations of scholars through the research partnerships they develop and the students they teach.

Our Fellows will now begin new activities to extend the impact of their research and will write for the Data Impact Blog about their progress and develop case studies as they go to share the outcomes of their role as UK Data Service Data Impact Fellows.

ESRC Festival of Social Science

ESRC Festival of Social Science The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science runs from 5-12 November across the UK. The UK Data Service is participating in the Festival with two events:

UKDS Open Data Dive, 9 November, 10.00 - 17.00 at The Shed, Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).
The Manchester Open Data Dive is a one-day hackathon event bringing together coders, data enthusiasts, graphic designers, project managers and end users from all sectors to hunt down, crunch and beautify open data relating to the region.  For details of our highly succesful first Data Dive held in Septmeber, see our blog Diving in to UK Data Service Open Data featuring the winning creation 'London Spike'.

Talk Big data at Essex - Changing Lives through Research, Colchester, Essex, 10 November, 17.30 - 19.00, University of Essex.
This is a collaobrative event with several speakers, including Katherine McNeill, Functional Director for Access for the UK Data Archive (part of the UK Data Service) and Sharon Witherspoon, deputy chair of the Administrative Data Research Network (ADRN).

Changing Lives through Research is part of a series of talks to discuss the relationship between research and Big Data and what it means for you and society.  Already data is making a difference to people across the UK, hear more about how, where and why research is using big data:...

Towards Open Research - a new report from the UK Data Service

Towards Open Research - a new report from the UK Data Service

Data experts from the UK Data Service and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have been working together on a project to investigate researcher's attitudes and behaviours towards open research.

Commissioned by the Wellcome Trust, the project considered the sharing and reuse of research data, code, and open access publications in order to identify practical actions the Wellcome Trust can implement to remove barriers and maximise the opportunities for practicing open science.

Read the full report, Towards Open Research: practices, experiences, barriers and opportunities on figshare.

ESRC Longitudinal Studies Review 2017: consultation survey

ESRC Longitudinal Studies Review 2017: consultation surveyThe Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has announced a survey to aid their Longitudinal Studies Review.

Its purpose is to provide an opportunity for a wide range of stakeholders to contribute to the early thinking in the ESRC review process and allow input on the key scientific questions, methodology and technical issues ESRC longitudinal investments should address in the future. 

If you use longitudinal data and would like to contribute to the review, the survey is open from 3 October and closes on 4 November 2016.

Futuretrack: a new longitudinal study of applicants to higher education

FutureTrackThe UK Data Service is pleased to announce the release of the new dataset Futuretrack: a Longitudinal Study of Applicants to UK Higher Education, 2006-2012.

Futuretrack is an academic research study that explores the relationship between higher education, career decision-making and labour market opportunities.

Graduate employment has become a heated issue in media and academic debates among those concerned with the relationship between higher education and the labour market.

  • but what kinds of jobs are recent graduates doing?
  • is it now necessary to have more than just a degree?
  • are people who didn't go into higher education and got a job after school at a disadvantage or advantage relative to graduates?
  • who gets career opportunities and who ends up under-employed, and just what is 'graduate employability'?

See the data behind the Joseph Rowntree Foundation strategy on UK poverty

See the data behind the Joseph Rowntree Foundation strategy on UK poverty The independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) has today launched a five-point plan to solve poverty in the UK by 2030. It is the most comprehensive strategy of its kind and looks at poverty across all groups in the UK. 

The JRF calculate that poverty costs the UK £78 billion a year, £1,200 for every person and equivalent to 4 per cent of the UK's GDP. £69 billion of this figure is spent on the public services needed to deal with poverty - £1 in every £5 spent on public services. A further £9 billion is lost tax revenue and additional benefits spending due to the knock-on effects of poverty in later life.

Youth Social Action Survey, 2015

Youth Social Action Survey, 2015The UK Data Service is pleased to announce the release of the second Youth Social Action Survey. The latest survey, which measures the proportion of 10-20 year olds taking part in social action across the UK, was completed in September 2015 and follows-up from the first survey in 2014.

Youth social action is defined as ‘practical action in the service of others to create positive change’ and covers a wide range of activities that help other people or the environment, such as fundraising, campaigning (excluding party political campaigning), tutoring/mentoring, and giving time to charity.

Read more news

Diving into UK Data Service Open Data

Diving into UK Data Service Open DataOn Saturday 24 September we held the UK Data Service’s first ever Open Data Dive at The Shed, Digital Innovation Hub at Manchester Metropolitan University. International Data Specialist, Celia Russell updates us on the day’s activities and achievements.

The aim of the day was to create a space for people to dive into the open data hosted by the Service and think of ways to crunch, beautify and re-engineer the data resources to create something new. The blog features the winning creation 'London Spike'.

The 2nd Data Dive takes place on 9 November 10:00 - 17:00 as part of the ESRC's Festival of Social Science.

The Manchester Data Dive will bring together coders, data enthusiasts, graphic designers, project managers and pizza lovers to hunt down, crunch and beautify open social and economic data about Manchester and the North West region.
The Challenge: The Northern Powerhouse in the World
On 5 May 2017 Greater Manchester will have a new Mayor: Your gift to her/him - a SWOT* analysis of Greater Manchester and the Region - internationally....
* Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
Prizes will be given for projects which could give the Mayor an immediate head start in knowing what works - and what needs more focus - in the aim of cementing Greater Manchester and the North West Region in the Northern Powerhouse as an International Powerhouse. As with our last Open Data Dive we'll be offering the opportunity to 3D print the winning dive, which was GB House Prices by area, by @philmikejones

Stoptober, smoking and health related-research

Stoptober, smoking and health related-researchDr Deborah Wiltshire, Senior Access and Support Officer at the UK Data Service discusses the effect of health policy on the nation’s health. Deborah works with data, used by researchers to inform policy, providing advice on dataset content and analysis, and gives face-to-face and online introductory training to students, academics and other researchers.

October marks the annual Stoptober campaign which aims to help people give up smoking. Encouraging people to give up smoking has long been an important focus of health policy in the UK, and research carried out using data available through the UK Data Service suggests that these policies and campaigns are having some success.

Read more blog posts

The lives of young carers in England

The lives of young carers in England
According to the 2011 Census, there are almost 166,000 young carers in England. Young carers are those children and young people under 18 who provide regular and ongoing care and emotional support to a family member. While research has found that caring can have a positive impact, there is also evidence to show the adverse impact of caring on health, social activity, education and employment opportunities for young carers (Aldridge, 2008).
Read more case studies

Featured this issue

New data resources and developments including our 5 Safes video detailing the 5 Safes framework for researchers, new theme pages for food and food security, resources for sharing data with students and a new release of ELSST.
The 5 Safes of secure access to confidential data

The 5 Safes of secure access to confidential data

The 5 Safes framework
Find out about The 5 Safes framework for researchers: safe data, safe projects, safe people, safe settings, safe outputs.

Looking for data on food and food security?

Looking for data on food and food security?The UK Data Service is pleased to share the new set of theme pages related to food and food security.

The food system cuts across many academic disciplines and covers a wide range of research topics such as:

  • the impact of extreme weather events on food systems- 
  • the need of a growing population for sustainable agriculture
  • food security and better access to food
  • medical challenges of diseases caused by under/over nutrition
  • consumer culture and attitudes toward food
  • healthy diet and food safety

Sharing real-world data with students

Sharing real-world data with studentsWant to use real-world data in teaching? Our extensive collection of social, economic and population data provides an essential resource for teaching.

Open data - For getting students hands-on with data, our growing collection of open data is the most accessible. These data can be downloaded from the website without registration and with no restrictions on how to share them with students.

New release of the European Language Social Science Thesaurus (ELSST)

New release ELSSTWe are pleased to announce the latest release of the European Language Social Science Thesaurus (ELSST).

ELSST is used for searching the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives' (CESSDA) data catalogue and facilitates access to research and data resources across Europe, independent of domain, resource, language or vocabulary.

In the latest release, September 2016, extensive improvements have resulted in the average for translated Preferred Terms, including all Broader Terms, Narrower Terms and Related Terms increasing to 98%, with most languages fully up-to-date with the source language, containing 100% of translated terms.

New data releases

We had a number of new releases this quarter including:

SN 8050 Northern Ireland Health Survey, 2011-2012, 2012-2013 and 2013-2014
SN 7962 Scottish Election Study, 2011
SN 8048 English Housing Survey: Fuel Poverty Dataset, 2014
SN 8030 Kids' Life and Times Survey, 2013, 2014 and 2015
SN 8037 Youth Social Action Survey, 2015
SN 8053
Study of Twins in the National Child Development Study and the 1970 British Cohort Study, 2008
SN 8066 ADDResponse: European Social Survey Round 6 (UK) Plus Auxiliary Data, 2010-2014: Secure Access
SN 8045 Quarterly Labour Force Survey Household Dataset, April - June, 2016
SN 8039 Quarterly Labour Force Survey, April - June, 2016
SN 8041 Labour Force Survey Two-Quarter Longitudinal Dataset, January - June, 2016
SN 8042 Labour Force Survey Five-Quarter Longitudinal Dataset, April 2015 - June 2016
SN 8054 Annual Population Survey, July 2015 - June 2016
SN 8061 Annual Population Survey Household Dataset, January - December, 2015
SN 8049 Attitudes towards Commercial Access to Health Data, 2015-2016
SN 8032 Futuretrack: a Longitudinal Study of Applicants to UK Higher Education, 2006-2012
SN 8022 Effects of Taxes and Benefits on Household Income, 2014-2015
SN 8011 Crime Survey for England and Wales, 2013-2014: Unrestricted Access Teaching Dataset
SN 7990 Understanding Society Teaching Datasets: Waves 1-3, 2009-2012

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:

Healthy Ageing in Scotland (HAGIS)
Stimulating Household Improvements Resulting in Economic Empowerment (SHIREE): Longitudinal Study of Extremely Poor Households in Bangladesh, 2010-2016 (CMS3)
*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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