Spring 2016

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UK Data Service Newsletter

#DataImpactFellows2016: Apply to be one of our new Data Impact Fellows

Are you a post-doctoral researcher or PhD researcher based in a UK university? Do you use UK Data Service data in your research with a focus on impact? If so we are offering you the opportunity to be awarded one of five Impact Fellowships.

Five awards are offered to the value of £2,000 per Fellow and the programme will run over 2 years from August 2016, from which Fellows can draw on a receipt for cost basis to cover impactful public engagement activities such as: holding focus groups, international conference costs or the cost of an article processing charge for a publication.

 Apply here, we look forward to hearing from you.

Undergraduate Dissertation Prize up for grabs

Undergraduate Dissertation Prize up for grabsAre you an undergraduate student completing your dissertation in the academic year 2015/16?  Do you want your research to be read by other researchers, users of data and practitioners?

The UK Data Service will be awarding a prize of £250 for a thesis that demonstrates flair and originality in using quantitative data. The abstract of the winning dissertation, along with its key findings, will also be publicised on our website and to our networks within the social sciences through this quarterly Newsletter.

“Measuring up”: the UK Data Service provides “world-class data infrastructure”

“Measuring up": the UK Data Service provides “world-class data infrastructure”There is a distinct lack of quantitative skills (QS) among UK students compared with their international counterparts finds the British Academy in Measuring Up: International case studies on the teaching of quantitative methods in the social sciences, a new review of social science departments, identifying the quantitative methods that departments embed in their courses, how they do this, and the effects this has on their students in terms of enhancing their quantitative skills.

Highlighting “the world-class data infrastructure available in the UK through the UK Data Service”, the Review recommends that "if UK universities are to reach the standards achieved by leading universities elsewhere they must consider both the curriculum content of degree programmes and the skill mix of teaching staff."

Opening up census data for research

InFuse features in a new ESRC impact case study. InFuse, an online search facility for UK census data, enables tailored search and investigation of the UK census statistics – opening new opportunities for aggregating and comparing population counts.

Successfully Sharing Qualitative Data

As part of Open Scholarship Month at the University of Central Lancashire Libby Bishop from the UK Data Service ran a successful Sharing Qualitative Data workshop on 2 March.  The workshop focused on generating, constructing and reusing qualitative data in research as well as covering ethical responsibilities and how to find out more about open data.

The event was well attended and well received.  Libby noted there was already “goodwill in wanting to share qualitative data but there were concerns on how best to do it”.  Addressing these issues by drawing on diverse research projects, participants felt they had “learnt so much” during this interactive workshop...To maintain the momentum for sharing and using open data there are plans in progress to run another workshop in Lancaster, with another set to follow in Glasgow.

Guidance on preserving social media

Guidance on preserving social media Social media plays an increasingly important role as we embrace networked platforms and applications in our everyday lives. The UK Data Service is pleased to share the latest Technology Watch Report ‘Preserving Social Media’, published by the Digital Preservation Coalition (DPC), an advocate and catalyst for digital preservation, ensuring resilient long-term access to digital content and services...

This report, commissioned by the UK Data Service, provides guidance for researchers wanting to access social media for research purposes, the institutions who support them, and all organisations with a need to preserve social media data. It describes the landscape of archiving social media, including the attendant legal and ethical obstacles to long-term access.

An Introduction to the UK Data Service: Resources for social research

Guidance on preserving social media Students were introduced to the key types of data available, how they can access these data as well as what resources are available to help them throughout their research.

"This is an excellent service and your trainer Deborah Wiltshire was excellent. I am very impressed and would make use of this service again without hesitation", Clare Trowell, Marshall Librarian, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

Exploring birth cohorts: The Life Project

Exploring birth cohorts: The Life Project Journalist Helen Pearson has written a book about the story of UK birth cohort studies, describing the economists, statisticians, geneticists and data scientists who have made the studies possible and the discoveries that the data has produced.

Birth cohort studies are some of the most detailed longitudinal studies in the UK Data Service collection, following people born in a single point in time throughout their lifetime. Over the past 70 years many aspects of the lives of tens of thousands of people have been recorded, catalogued and analysed.

The research findings from this wealth of data cover many different topics from the development of the NHS to the social mobility of children from poorer families, medical advances in the care of pregnant women to how people approach care in old age.
Read more news

Long-term trajectories of crime in the UK

Stephen Farrall, Deputy Head of the School of Law and Professor of Criminology at the University of Sheffield and colleagues, discuss the exciting long-term research underpinned by analyses of national survey data.

With almost 35 years of data (and in some cases more) for some of the UK’s oldest datasets, we are fast approaching a point in time when repeated cross-sectional surveys (such as the British Social Attitudes Survey or the Crime Survey for England and Wales) can be analysed longitudinally, as well as cross-sectionally. This is a really exciting prospect, since a lot of the sorts of data which times series analysts have had to rely on come from official sources, such as recorded crime rates, rather than self-reported data (which is often taken to be a more reliable source when it comes to some matters).

Explore this further with
Vanessa Higgins from the UK Data Service and Stephen Farrall in the Exploring Longterm Trends in Social Attitudes and Crime Workshop on 16 June.

Tracking data citation in international data use

Susan Noble, Service Manager for international data at the UK Data Service talks about the importance of citing data and presents a new feature to track citations of international data within the UKDS.Stat.

As data become an increasingly important element within the scholarly record there is widespread recognition of the need to easily locate original datasets in order to verify, reproduce and subsequently build upon this research. Despite efforts in this area (for example, see an early paper –
We Need Publishing Standards for Datasets and Data Tables written by Toby Green, Head of Publishing at the OECD back in 2009) standards for citing data are still not widely enough embedded in researchers’ practice and more work needs to be done to #CiteTheData.
Read more blog posts

Personality and gender influence how we cope with illness

Gender and personality matter in how people cope with physical and mental illness, according to a study by researchers from the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce and Washington State University. The study is part of a wider project exploring personality traits and health satisfaction.
Read more case studies

Featured this issue

New data resources and developments including our new qualitative anonymisation tool, #EUlife AppChallenge award winners video, teaching resources rubric and UK Data Service

New qualitative anonymisation tool released

New table finder tool for Census flow dataThe ‘text anonymisation helper tool’ is a great resource for researchers and data repositories to use as an aid to anonymising data and removing disclosive information from the dissemination copy of data files.

The anonymisation tool is based on Microsoft Word macros and makes searching for addresses, names or years much easier by finding all numbers and words starting with capital letters.  Once highlighted,potentially disclosive information is easier to find and anonymise, enabling the use of pseudonyms or vaguer descriptors to replace any problematic identifying information.

#EUlife AppChallenge award winners: girls can code too

#EULife AppChallenge

Louise Corti explains why the competition was such a success and two award winners prove that girls can code too.

Introducing our Teaching Resources Rubric

Teaching Resources RubricThe UK Data Service has developed a Teaching Resources Rubric  - a one stop shop which provides direct links to the suite of Methods Guides available according to theme covered (Age, Crime, Ethnicty etc.), dataset used (Crime Survey for England & Wales, British Social Attitudes Survey, Quarterly Labour Force Survey etc.) and methodology employed (means, correlation, regression etc).

These resources provide teachers of quantitative methods with direct access to teaching and learning worksheets for use in the classroom to help students learn statistitcal techniques using real-world data from the UK Data Service. There are also practical software guides which introduce students to SPSS, Stata and R.

Read more about this and other resources available in our
blog post Spotlight on our resources for students and supporting dissertations – including a prize!

UK Data Service

our new page - research in the news using data in the UK Data Service Collection.

New data releases

We had a number of new releases this quarter including: SN 7926 Local Elections in England, 2015
SN 7919 Health Survey for England, 2014
SN 7875 Long-Term Trajectories of Crime in the United Kingdom, 1982-2013
SN 7879 Poverty and Social Exclusion Living Standards Survey, 2012
SN 7872 Taking Part: the National Survey of Culture, Leisure and Sport, 2014-2015; Adult and Child Data
SN 7894 What About YOUth? Survey, 2014
SN 7941 Labour Force Survey Annual Eurostat Dataset, 2014
SN 852262 The 2013/14 winter floods and policy change: Interviews and survey data

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:

Public attitudes to commercial access to health data funded by the Wellcome Trust (The Wellcome Trust Monitor data are among our new releases)

ONS Studies for the Secure Lab:
Quarterly Labour Force Survey, October 2014 - December 2015
Annual Population Survey Well-being, 2011-2015
*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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