Social Science Research Materials

Partner responsible: University of New South Wales
Delivery of tool with documentation and Final Project Review Report - End of October 2008

Project goals

The project will assess, model and demonstrate the data curation required by a repository to support research in the social sciences, including the deployment of metadata standards for datasets, research instruments, policy, cultural and associated material; expressing relationships between material; and linking to national and subject based data facilities.

Project description

Social science research that deploys trans-disciplinary and mixed-method research methodologies relies on data curation of research materials alongside policy, cultural and associated material. The research often involves industry and community partners. Much of the material is systematically archived in national and subject-based data facilities and other repositories. The research material includes quantitative, qualitative and multi-media datasets such as surveys, interview transcripts, ethnographic field notes, sound recordings, and photographic and film representations; research instruments such as questionnaires; and research outputs. The policy, cultural and associated material includes government and NGO policy documents, media releases, newspaper reports of research findings, research proposals, project descriptions and project websites, much of which is produced by non-academic research partners.

Support for social science research by a repository includes storing information about this wide range of material using appropriate standards and descriptions; the ability to express relationships between the material including material held in external archives and repositories; and storing material or linking to it in external archives and repositories.

The project will assess and demonstrate the use of an ARROW repository to support this range of social science research material and the relationships and linkages required. It will provide a model for research infrastructure that is responsive to the broad context of a particular research area, and one that is positioned as an integrated and generative component of the research process. The model will increase accessibility and visibility of research material through the institutional repository, while enabling academics to archive their work with communities of practice and subject-based repositories, as well as institutional collections.

The project will work with established archival facilities of research data, including the Australian Social Science Data Archives (ASSDA), to link metadata records to the respective archive datasets. To achieve this, it will test the implementation of the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) metadata schema ( in an ARROW repository. The design of the linking will be undertaken with reference to emerging protocols for management of research objects, including OAI-ORE, to provide continued interoperability and maximise possibilities for continuing use and exchange of content. It will develop and provide demonstrator examples of submission systems and workflows for dataset description and examine issues related to linking to external datasets archived in national data archives and research outputs held in other institutional repositories. It will be informed by the Commonwealth Government Accessibility Framework recommendations relating to enhancing access to publicly funded research, and NHMRC and ARC funding guidelines for dissemination of research data and outcomes. Finally, it will examine the application of a lifecycle approach to the curation of digital materials.

The project will draw and build on resources developed elsewhere including the Australian Social Sciences Data Archive information package, the Australian Qualitative Archive at University of Queensland (AQuA) and DISC-UK DataShare documents. It is planned to visit the Australian-based organisations to ensure interoperability in the design.
The project will use materials associated with Australian social science research in HIV and Hepatitis C as its demonstrator base. The material will be drawn from two national HIV research centres, in particular the Clearinghouse of research resources produced by the National Centre in HIV Social Research at UNSW. The demonstrator will be an open repository that aggregates, stores, preserves, disseminates and documents connections between various materials associated with Australian social science research in HIV and Hepatitis C. It will integrate material from non-research partners of the two national centres.

Project progress reports

25 July 2008,a progress report was submitted by UNSW and accepted by the ARROW Management Committee the report is below
3 October 2008, a progress report was submitted by UNSW and accepted by the ARROW Management Committee the report is below

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