Downloading and using data

Data archived at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD) can be used for research, study and teaching, according to access conditions set for the data by original data creators and the data archive. Data are disseminated free of charge.

FSD User Services are happy to help with any questions related to data issues.

Downloading data

Data can be downloaded online from the Data Service Portal Aila. Even without registration, users can browse the data catalogue, search for data, browse study descriptions and variables, and download open access data. By registering, users can download datasets that have access conditions. Contact information of users who have downloaded data is stored in the FSD client register (see our Privacy Policy).

If you are a student or member of staff from a Finnish university, polytechnic or research institute, you can register with Aila using your personal username and password issued to you by your institution (Haka authentication). See the list of Haka member organisations. Registration is accepted immediately and users can browse and download data straight away. Other users will apply for an Aila username by filling in the registration form. Usernames are primarily issued to students and researchers from foreign universities as well as the members of Finnish research organisations that do not belong to Haka federation. A username and password will be sent by email within a week, once the FSD User Services has checked the information given in the registration form.

Registered users can download data online from Aila, after having accepted the terms and conditions for data use. Download is done one dataset at a time. Users need to fill in the access application form first, providing information on their research or study, the purpose of data use and funders, if any. Most datasets can be downloaded immediately but sometimes permission is required from the original data creator(s). In this case, the access application is forwarded to the data creator(s). Data download can take place if the creators decide to give permission.

Further information:

Translation of data into English

All quantitative and qualitative datasets archived at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD) have a study description in English, giving an overview of the dataset and its methodology. For users who do not speak Finnish, FSD translates quantitative data (question texts and response categories) into English on request, free of charge. Qualitative data are available in their original language only and are not translated.

File formats

If not requested otherwise, quantitative data are delivered in SPSS portable format (*.por). FSD can deliver data in a few other formats as well, with restrictions. Please contact our User Services if you wish to have quantitative data in a format other than SPSS. See a list of available formats.

Short instructions on opening SPSS Portable files in R environment are available on our website.

Codebooks and questionnaires are delivered as pdf files.

Qualitative data are delivered in the format they are archived in. Most are text files (rtf, txt, pdf). There often is a separate HTML-version for textual data, facilitating browsing and file finding. The data portal delivers qualitative datasets as zip files.

A PDF reader is needed to view questionnaires and other documents in PDF-format. (Questionnaires are in most cases available only in Finnish.) For example Adobe Reader software is downloadable free of charge.

Using data for teaching

Data can be used for teaching, for example, for methodology courses held in Finnish or English, if the terms of access set for the data allow this. If a course participant wishes to continue to use the data after the termination of the course, he or she has to register into Aila data portal and download the data separately.

Using data for study

Students who are registered as Aila users can download data for their term papers and theses. Only the datasets whose availability is set as either "(A) available for all users without registration" or "(B) available for research, teaching and study" may be used for teaching and study purposes. Users should carefully read the usage restrictions and conditions of use!

Data storage and disposal

When storing and using archived data, users must take sufficient measures to guarantee data security, and the privacy and confidentiality of research participants and third parties potentially mentioned in the data. Only the person(s) named in the access application may have access to the data. Analysis results based on archived data shall be reported in a manner that there is no risk of disclosing the identity of any research subject (e.g. using statistical tables/charts).

Data may only be used for the purposes stated in the access application after which the data must be securely erased and the files deleted from the hard disk or any other storage media. If the data are needed for some other research or teaching purpose, a new access application must be sent/e-mailed to the archive.

For more information on data disposal, see our Data Management Guidelines.

Citing data

The source must be acknowledged in any text, table or chart based wholly or in part on the data.

updated 2018-05-25