Advantages of archiving
The FSD provides services for archiving, preserving and disseminating data. Both researchers and the scientific community as a whole benefit if data are archived.
- The Data Archive will take care of the usability of data and procedures needed to ensure data privacy and secrecy.
- Many funders, like the Academy of Finland, require grant applicants to include a data management plan in funding applications and recommend that the data are archived at the FSD.
- Archiving a dataset constitutes an academic merit to the researcher. The Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity in its template for researcher's curriculum vitae mentions the production and distribution of research data as one of the scientific and societal impacts of research.
- Citation rates are higher for research publications with data publicly available for reuse.
- Some international scientific journals require that the underlying research data are made available prior to the publication of the article.
- The accessibility of research data promotes scientific openness and scholarly discussion.
FSD's Data Management Guidelines provide guidance on making the research data management plan and managing the data over the whole data life cycle.
Archiving does not generally affect copyright ownership. Depositors can specify conditions on data use, and re-users must submit to the conditions set by the depositor and the archive. Data are disseminated for research, teaching and learning purposes only.
What kind of data are archived?
The FSD acquires data which are of interest for research and teaching. The acquired data are mostly in electronic format, and are either quantitative (numerical) or qualitative (i.e. text, speech, or visual images). Researchers are encouraged to deposit their data for archiving if any of the following criteria are met:
- copyright and ownership rights to the data have been cleared,
- the data can be documented using the international DDI standard, which has been developed for describing research data like surveys, questionnaires and statistical data files,
- the data will be made accessible to the scientific community after the original research has been completed, and
- the data and related material are in good order and complete enough to enable processing for reuse and producing descriptive metadata.
Examples of the data suitable for archiving at the FSD:
- quantitative microdata saved as data matrices (commonly research data collected by surveys)
- transcribed interviews, group interviews, and observations from various interaction situations
- various types of written texts (ethnographic diaries, thematical writings and similar texts produced by the research subjects)
- still images taken by the researcher or research subjects (see Agreements concerning the transfer of rights)
- copies of newspaper articles or images, illustrations, and cartoons analysed in the study. (The FSD's agreement with the Kopiosto Copyright Society covers both Finnish and international works.)
- archival material digitised or photographed by the researcher when they have been digitised/photographed for research purposes, and they have sufficient citations
The FSD does not in general archive audiovisual material. Audiovisual material are archived and disseminated for further research by the Language Bank of Finland. If you are planning to collect audiovisual material in your research or already have such material that you wish to archive for data sharing, contact the Language Bank.
Under certain conditions, it is possible to archive datasets containing personal identifiers. In that case, the archive will first anonymise the data. Data in paper format may be deposited at the archive only if they are considered to be valuable for research, and can be transferred to an electronic format at reasonable cost.
All identifiers must be removed from data according to instructions given by the Data Archive. If agreed separately, the FSD may anonymize the data on behalf of the researcher.
It is recommended that persons willing to deposit their data at the FSD contact the archive beforehand. FSD staff are happy to offer advice and information on the deposit process.
To deposit a dataset, you need to fill in these two forms:
The forms are available in alternative formats on our forms page.
The completed forms are sent to the FSD, together with the data and supplementary material (e.g. questionnaire, coding instructions, interview questions). Supplementary material may be delivered in paper or digital format, or in both.
Completing the Dataset Description form
Providing sufficient information on the technical properties and content of the dataset is vital. Instead of completing the form (or in addition to it), the depositor may deliver the research report to the archive or, alternatively, a copy of the part of the report covering data collection and content.
Data files and formats
The depositor may deliver data files to the FSD in their existing digital format. If conversion to another format is needed, the archive will do it.
Transferring data to the FSD
In most cases, data files may be delivered to the archive as an attachment to an e-mail. If the file is very big or contains sensitive information, the depositor should discuss the best transfer method with the archive. It is possible to use a file transfer or send a disk by post. Supplementary material may be also delivered by post. If the file is very large, or the data contain sensitive information, please contact the FSD before any delivery.
Various terms used in the depositing process are explained in the glossary.
First, the deposited dataset is checked thoroughly. In the case of quantitative data, variables are identified and their consistency with the questionnaire checked, and missing data are reviewed. Variable and value labels are constructed based on the questionnaire. Constructed variables created by the researcher are usually deleted so that the archived data consist mainly of variables directly connected to the questionnaire. The archive primarily uses the SPSS programme to check and process data. All alterations to data are carefully documented.
When processing qualitative data, the archive converts digital textual data to RTF format and paper data mostly to PDF, to provide cross-platform usability. Consistency of internal metadata (file naming, labelling) is checked.
Particular attention is paid to data privacy. If needed, the dataset is anonymised. Anonymisation may involve checking the anonymisation procedures carried out by the original researcher(s) or alternatively, the archive staff may do the anonymisation. The level of anonymisation to be adopted is largerly dependent on the information given to research subjects or the content of the consent agreement.
When a deposited dataset has been processed into an archival version, the dataset is described and related material (for instance, interview questions, writing competition announcement, questionnaire) are converted into a digital format. The study description and the related material are stored in FSD databases, from which online data catalogues are generated.
Have you yourself collected research data? Or are you aware of quantitative or qualitative data which should be archived at the FSD? Make a suggestion by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our online form.
If you have questions, please contact us.