Messages from the Directors

George Alter
George Alter
ICPSR Director

As we reflect on ICPSR's 50th anniversary, I am reminded of the foresight and dedication of the many people who built this great organization. The Consortium's expansion from an initial group of 21 institutions to more than 700 today is a testament to the vision of ICPSR's founders: their belief that sharing research data would expand research opportunities, accelerate development of analytical methods, and build scientific communities. That legacy implies an obligation to preserve and safeguard data for future generations of social science researchers, a commitment that we dedicate ourselves to every day. The Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research, which continues to expand in both enrollment and scope, carries on our founders' insight that skilled researchers enhance the value of data. Our success also rests on the community of researchers, data producers, and Official Representatives, who share these values.

This is an exciting time for ICPSR, as more and more disciplines and funding agencies have come to recognize the importance of data sharing, archiving and preservation. New opportunities arise daily, and we will continue to build on 50 years of vision and leadership.

James Jackson
James Jackson
ISR Director

It's a great pleasure and honor to celebrate ICPSR's 50th anniversary with its dedicated researchers, professional staff, official representatives, and, of course, data producers and users. The consortium's story reflects many of the best qualities of the University of Michigan and the Institute for Social Research: the innovation of founder Warren Miller, the phenomenal growth ICPSR has experienced in the past five decades, and the spirit of collaboration on which the Consortium is built, to name just a few.

Indeed, Miller's idea that research data in political science and the other social sciences should be shared rather than hoarded by their producers was revolutionary in the 1960s, but has since come to be the standard in many fields. ISR has been a leader in promoting data sharing, and the results are easy to see: as ICPSR's own researchers found in a 2010 paper , research productivity measured by publications significantly increases when research data are shared.

The pride that we feel in ICPSR's accomplishments over the past 50 years are matched only by the hope and expectation of even greater things to come.

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