Data Sources

Using the criteria described in this chapter, ICPSR staff searches in a number of places for appropriate data:

  1. Periodic review of federal grant databases at NIH and NSF
  2. Periodic review of current/recent grant awards made by private foundations
  3. Periodic review of scholarly publications
  4. Scientific sessions at professional meetings
  5. Outreach through exhibitions at professional meetings
  6. Adhoc advisory committees
  7. Monitoring listservs and newsletters
  8. ICPSR staff suggestions
  9. Membership recommendations
  10. Requests of Council Members & Official Representatives
  11. Other collection development practices at ICPSR

Some of the major sources of ICPSR data are listed below:

  • Depositors. Much data comes to ICPSR from the researchers who conducted the studies. They are seeking a data archive that can make their data available to others and preserve it for future scholars.

  • Funding agency mandates. Many grants require that studies they fund be deposited in a public archive. Most of the data in the Thematic Collections are deposited with ICPSR under terms of the contracts and grants that fund the archives that support these collections.

  • Replication datasets. Social science practices increasingly require that investigators deposit datasets that include all data and information necessary to permit another researcher to replicate a corresponding published article, book, or dissertation. The ICPSR Publication-Related Archive houses many of these replication datasets.

  • Expert recommendations. Many studies are suggested by ICPSR Council members and Official Representatives from member institutions, senior faculty, and ICPSR staff. The staff attends scientific sessions at professional meetings, and constantly monitors federal grant databases at NIH and NSF, grants made by private foundations, listservs and newsletters, and scholarly publications in order to identify data of interest.

  • Series collections. The most recent updates of a large number of serial data collections are automatically added to the archive.

  • New data combinations. Harmonization of data files can result in new merged files for research. ICPSR has performed such harmonization for the Integrated Fertility Survey Series external link and the merged Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiology Surveys.

  • Digitization and data entry. Many of the historical collections at ICPSR, including election returns, historical census data, and congressional roll calls, were digitized by ICPSR staff to create quantitative data files.