FSD Bulletin

Issue 21 (1/2007)
5.4.2007

ISSN 1795-5262

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FSD Bulletin is the electronic newsletter of the Finnish Social Science Data Archive. The Bulletin provides information and news related to the data archive and social science research.


FSD

Finnish Social Science Data Archive
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E-mail: fsd@tuni.fi


Preservation of Electronic Data Requires National Guidelines and Best Practices

Mari Kleemola

In February 2007, the Ministry of Education set up a project group to provide recommendations for organising the collection, preservation and use of electronic data in Finland. The group aims to produce national guidelines for these issues by the end of November. Represented in the group are the National Archives, the National Library, the Ministry of Education, the Finnish Film Archive, the National Board of Antiquities, FSD, Finnish IT Center for Science, Finnish Open Access Working Group (FinnOA), the Advisory Committee on Information Management in Public Administration, and State IT Management. The group is chaired by Markku Nenonen, Deputy Director General of the National Archives.

The group will primarily focus on the electronic material, published by institutions governed by the Ministry of Education, the archiving of which is decreed by the law. If possible, the group will also provide recommendations for other essential material like, for example, research data.

Universities, polytechnics, research institutes and public administration produce large numbers of electronic research data. It is important to preserve the data, not only because of their content, but also because their reuse is cost-effective. We must ensure that unique and valuable research data are not lost because of technical problems, inadequate metadata or because their value has not been understood.

The findings from the Open Access survey, carried out by the FSD and funded by the Ministry of Education, show that only ten per cent of university departments have any stated guidelines or rules as regards the preservation of research data. The survey covered humanities, social sciences and behavioural sciences, and the questionnaire was sent to professors. The respondents were of the opinion that the best way to ensure open access to data are joint recommendations made by the universities, and incorporating financial resources for depositing data into the overall research project funding. National data archives for different disciplines were regarded to be a good way to organise the archiving of data.