FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Depositing Data - Main Guidelines | Depositing Data - In Practice | Administration | Other Questions

Frequently asked questions relating to finding, downloading, using and citing data can be found on Aila.

Depositing Data - Main Guidelines

What does archiving data cost to the researcher or the research project?
Nothing. The FSD's basic services (archiving data, delivering data in digital format via the Aila Data Portal, translating quantitative data into English, and information service) are free of charge.
What kinds of datasets are archived at the FSD?
The FSD archives social sciences, humanities and health research data that are estimated to be of significance for teaching and research purposes. The data must be in digital format. Both quantitative and qualitative data are archived.
What are the benefits of depositing data with the FSD?
Archiving a dataset guarantees its future usability, even when the software and equipment originally used for storing the data have become outdated. FSD staff checks all deposited datasets, and any supplementary material (e.g. a blank questionnaire and coding instructions) is also archived. The data archive will also take care that the metadata related to a dataset is sufficient to allow its reuse.
Can I set conditions on the use of the data?
Yes, depositors can stipulate conditions on archiving and reuse in the Deposition Agreement.
Do I or the university I represent lose the rights to the archived data?
The original creators of the data retain the copyright and related intellectual property rights to the data. The creators may keep the original files and analysis files based on them. The FSD archives a digital copy of the original data, and the copy will be processed to be suitable for reuse. The FSD will be responsible for providing access to the data, providing long-term preservation and managing delivery of the data for reuse purposes. Therefore, the FSD holds the right to preserve and distribute the data.
Regarding quantitative data, only the variables directly related to the questionnaire are archived. For example, variables containing direct identifiers or variables created by the researcher are not included in the archival version meant for reuse. As with quantitative data, only qualitative data suited for reuse are archived.
Do you require that data users cite the data?
Yes. The conditions of data use state that data users shall cite the data and the creators of the data in all publications and presentations for which the data have been used. The FSD provides an example citation for each dataset and there are further instructions on citing data on our website.
Can I receive information on the use of the data I have archived?
Yes. You can request to have an annual report on data reuse delivered to you. The report contains information on which purposes the data have been distributed and which new publications have made use of the data.
Is digital data service as reliable as the previous data ordering procedure that was based on paper documents?
The new procedure is even more reliable. To register with the data service, staff and students of universities and universities of applied sciences use their personal usernames provided by their home institution. IT Administration in the user's home institution is responsible for the accuracy of personal information linked to the usernames. When a user registers for the Aila Data Service, the FSD receives some of the user's personal information from their home institution. The FSD also requests additional information from users for its user system.
There is a separate registration system for users who are not members of Finnish universities or universities of applied sciences, such as researchers in government research institutes or researchers from outside Finland. The registration of such users will only be accepted once the accuracy of the information provided by them is verified.
The FSD's user system records information on users, data ordered by them, and the date and time when the user accepted the Terms and Conditions. We send all users a reminder about the conditions of data use and the requirement to securely erase the data after they no longer need the data for the purpose stated in the agreement.
Why is the name of the data creator not asked in the Deposition Agreement?
We always inquire information about the data creators and collectors when the data are being described at the archive. This is to ensure that the author information contains specifically the names of those people who were responsible for the intellectual content of the dataset. Data creators are always included in the citation information of data.
The Deposition Agreement is often signed by the creator of the data, but it can also be signed by a representative of the organisation, such as the head of the department or the director of the research project. For this reason, we always ascertain the creator of the data when describing the dataset.
I want identifiers to be removed from the archival version of the data. Where do I express this in the Deposition Agreement?
The FSD recommends that data creators themselves take care of anonymising their data according to the instructions provided by the archive. If a person depositing their data wants the FSD to remove identifiers, this wish can be expressed in the Additional information field in the Deposition Agreement. In cases where the archive wishes to remove identifiers from quantitative data, the data depositors will be asked to give their approval for this. The request for approval includes a tailored suggestion of the ways in which the identifiers can be removed from the data.
In case of qualitative data, the FSD will closely examine each dataset and prepare a written suggestion on whether and how to remove identifiers from it. An identifier removal plan will then be made together with the researcher.
In which cases should I choose in the Deposition Agreement that the dataset can only be distributed to users with the permission from the depositor?
The main reason for choosing this alternative is that primary research on the data is still ongoing. Requiring permission enables the researcher to make sure that users will not undertake research similar to his/hers. Permission can also be required if the data contain person identifiers. In this case, the researcher remains in charge of the person register and considers each application for reuse him/herself.
I require users to ask permission to use the data I have deposited because of identifiers. What happens when the members of my research group and I are no longer able to grant permission?
A requirement can be included in the Deposition Agreement to process the data according to the existing privacy legislation at the point when permission can no longer be asked from the research group. FSD staff has long experience of removing identifiers from both quantitative and qualitative data.
Where in the Deposition Agreement can I express that I require a research plan from the reusers of my data?
The requirement shall be entered in the Additional information field in the Deposition Agreement. When data use is subject to permission and the data creators require a research plan, the data archive will act as an intermediary.
Why do I have to provide an alternative procedure for granting the permission to use the data, even though I want to be the only person to grant permission?
The task of the FSD is to ensure the accessibility and long-term preservation of research data today and in the decades to come. The life span of research data is seen as endless. The data that are topical today will, in time, become data for historical research. If you do not want your data to be used after you no longer are in a position to make decisions about granting permission, it is perhaps best not to deposit the data at the FSD.

Depositing Data - In Practice

What measures should I take to keep my research data accessible and make them easy to archive?
The FSD’s data management planning guidelines provide detailed instructions on how to manage research data at the different stages of data life cycle. Producing, processing and storing data according to the instructions improves their usability and considerably decrease the costs of long-term preservation, in addition to facilitating data management during research.
If I want to deposit data with the FSD, what do I have to do first?
Contact the archive, so we can discuss the details of archiving.
Do you archive quantitative data only? What about qualitative data?
The FSD archives qualitative datasets. The main difference is that archived quantitative data (question texts and response options) are translated into English on request for researchers who do not speak Finnish while qualitative data are not. This is because the amount of text to translate would be much larger for qualitative than for quantitative data. You can take a look at archived quantitative and qualitative data by browsing our Aila data catalogue.
What material do I have to submit to the FSD, when I deposit data?
In addition to the actual data, any supplementary material (e.g. a blank questionnaire, coding instructions, and information about publications related to the data) is useful. You also have to fill in the Dataset Description and Deposition Agreement forms. FSD staff can help filling in the forms.
In what condition should the deposited data be?
In addition to description information, it is sufficient that the files can be opened and variables identified in the data matrix. The file format does not matter.
What is done to the deposited data at the FSD?
We check the data, correct potential errors and add metadata. If needed, the data will be anonymised.
Are the researcher's so-called own variables removed from the data during archiving?
Yes, unless otherwise agreed with the researcher.
Do you archive the questionnaires filled in by the respondents?
No. We cannot accept them, as we only have limited storage space.
Can I send you punch cards or magnetic tapes?
Yes, but it needs to be arranged beforehand. Data stored on these media can be converted to modern devices, but doing so is expensive. In well-justified cases we may be able to consider it.
Do you archive digital audio recordings or AV recordings?
We archive audio recordings on a case-by-case basis if interviewees have given permission for the reuse of the recordings with identifiers included. Preservation and reuse of Finnish AV recordings is managed by the Language Bank of Finland, which specialises in linguistics.
Must I notify the FSD of all publications related to the data when I send the data in for archiving?
The FSD should be notified of all publications in which the data have been used (e.g. theses, articles, monographs). This does not include seminar papers or other unpublished essays. Physical copies of the publications need not be sent, only the bibliographic information. We list the publication information in the data description.


Who funds the FSD?
The FSD is a separate unit of the University of Tampere, serving researchers, teachers and students both in Finland and elsewhere. The archive is mainly funded by the Ministry of Education of Finland, with additional funding from various projects.
The FSD is a national institute then?
Yes. In addition, we provide international scientific community with information and data on Finland.
When was the FSD founded?
The archive began operating in 1999.
How many staff are employed by the FSD?
The FSD has 15 permanent employees. There are other staff members working on fixed-term contracts. Contact information.
What kind of people work at the FSD?
Staff members have diverse educational background: sociology, economics, political studies, information studies, statistics, information technology and mathematics. Most permanent employees have a master's degree, some have a PhD.

Other Questions

Where can I find more information on the FSD and archived data?
All information on our activities can be found on our website. See, for example, FSD Bulletin and News.
What is NESSTAR?
Nesstar was a search interface and publication tool, developed by Nesstar Ltd in co-operation with European data archives. It allows searches limited to certain fields, such as titles, keywords and variable names. Nesstar search has been replaced by Aila Data and Variable search.
updated 2015-10-26