Cohort and Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources (CLOSER)

The UK is home to the world’s largest and longest-running longitudinal studies.

Cohort and Longitudinal Studies Enhancement Resources (CLOSER) aims to maximise their use, value and impact both at home and abroad.

Bringing together eight leading cohort studies, the British Library and the UK Data Archive, CLOSER works to stimulate interdisciplinary research, develop shared resources, provide training, and share expertise.

A central component of CLOSER is the development of a metadata discovery platform, CLOSER Discovery, that is providing a portal to hundreds of thousands of variables, questions, and data collection instruments from across the CLOSER portfolio of studies.

The portal:

  • Holds cohort metadata covering survey and biomedical data collection, including detailed information on survey questions, instruments and variables, and the links between them.
  • Categorises those metadata according to standardised naming conventions, including classification by subject or topic.
  • Uses the DDI-Lifecycle international metadata standard, which is designed to mark-up cohort and longitudinal studies.
  • Provides links within and across the studies’ metadata, enabling researchers to see whether a question has been used more than once within a study, or by multiple studies.
  • Allows users to produce a list of variables and directs them to where they might obtain the data.

A beta version was launched late 2015, and the live version early in 2017. Work is ongoing to add more questions, measures and variables from the main cohort and longitudinal studies.

The second strand of work concerns ensuring that the harmonised work packages created as part of CLOSER are systematically described and archived at the UK Data Service. 

Our contribution

Principal Investigator: Rebecca Hardy, University College London

Co-Investigator: Louise Corti (until January 2021), Darren Bell (from January 2021), UK Data Service

Manager USP: Veerle van den Eynden (until June 2020), Jeannine Beeken, UK Data Service

Funder: Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Project dates: October 2012 - March 2022

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