Depositor stories

Article Image

"How researchers have tackled the task of archiving their challenging data"

Sharing data may be a simple task but it may unearth some complex issues that need to be thought through carefully.

View our short videos made with some of our key depositing organisations, including Natcen, DECC and ISER and the academics who collect the Skills and employment Survey series.

Our staff have advised many hundreds of depositors from government departments to academics on how to prepare and, where necessary, protect data. While we provide detailed guidelines for data producers on many of the key issues surrounding data preparation, we appreciate that some of the same questions crop up time and time again. These tend to involve the challenges of consent, exceptionally sensitive data, uncertainty about 'how much' anonymisation to do, and more.

To point to successful archiving of these kinds of collections, we have collated some 'depositor stories' that describe how researchers have tackled the task of archiving their data.

Various issues have been encountered, and successfully overcome, including:

  • where archiving has not been planned from the project's inception
  • 'sensitive' data
  • involving the research team during archiving work
  • long time lapses between doing the research and preparing the data for archiving
  • balancing confidentiality with the usefulness of the data
  • addressing the challenges of retrospective consent

These researchers are to be congratulated for their efforts on making their data shareable.

  • Pat Caplan: Concepts of Healthy Eating Food Research: Phases I and II
  • Maggie Mort: Health and Social Consequences of the Foot and Mouth Disease Epidemic in North Cumbria
  • Jane Elliott: Depositing the Social Participation and Identity Sub-Sample, 2007-2010
  • Sheila Henderson, et al.: Inventing Adulthoods: the Showcase Archive
  • Karon Gush: Understanding Couples' Experiences of Job Loss in Recessionary Britain
  • Bethany Morgan-Brett: Negotiating Midlife: Exploring the Subjective Experience of Ageing, 2006-2008
  • Jane Seymour: Consent for data sharing in sensitive qualitative research: burden or benefit?


We run a programme of regular training workshops covering key areas of preparing and sharing research data.

Contact us

If you would like to discuss any of these issues further, email the Collections Development team or telephone: +44 (0)1206 872143.

Back to top  

We expect to run as normal a service as possible during this COVID-19 (Coronavirus) emergency. Please visit our COVID-19 page for the latest information.


Quick Access To