The overall aim of the FDS programme is to establish the needs of the social science community and the data services they work with and make recommendations which will help establish how best to invest in the next generation of data services beyond 2024.
ESRC is considering how to invest in providing access to social science data and associated services in the future. The aim of this is to ensure that the services and infrastructure we fund support the needs of data users, owners and managers from across sectors, and remains fit for purpose, within a rapidly evolving landscape. This will be achieved through:
- evidence gathering
- synthesis of the evidence
- analysis of options
- agreement of an overall vision and recommendations
- consequent commissioning
The data access landscape has changed considerably since the initial investment in UK Data Service in 2012 due to a variety of factors, including:
- developments in technology
- increased public awareness of how and why their data is used
- a growth in the number of trusted research environments
- an increasing demand for openness in data and research publishing
While the data landscape has expanded (with more types and sources of data available for researchers to use), service provision has also greatly increased. A number of new services have been established since UK Data Service was launched in 2012. These include:
In addition, CLOSER has operated to provide services to researchers who are specifically using longitudinal data for their work.