University of Michigan

To develop and promote data-sharing standards in the social sciences

  • Amount $342,213
  • City Ann Arbor, MI
  • Investigator George Alter
  • Initiative Empirical Economic Research Enablers (EERE)
  • Year 2012
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Economic Institutions, Behavior, & Performance

Founded 50 years ago, the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for the social science research community. Over 700 institutions from all over the world belong to this consortium based at the University of Michigan, and its archives contain over 500,000 data files. This grant funds a project led by economic historian and ICPSR Director George Alter to help set standards and address challenges common to social science researchers who work with "big data." Grant funds will support three workshops that will aim to (1) develop consensus among social science journal editors about how to review, publish, and cite data; (2) develop common standards in a variety of scientific fields about how to archive data files and the "metadata" that describes them; and (3) develop a consensus among scientific grantmaking organizations about what data management standards should be imposed on grantees. Additional monies from this grant support a project to investigate the nondisclosure agreements (NDA) many social scientists sign in order to gain access to proprietary information and to explore the possibility of developing a common non-disclosure agreement on the model of the popular license developed by Creative Commons.

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