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Spotlight on the Australian Data Archive
Tue 26 Mar 2024

The Australian Data Archive (ADA) is the Australian infrastructure for Social Science and Humanities (SSH) Data and collaborates with CESSDA. Hear from Steven McEachern, Director and Manager of ADA.

The CESSDA Country Spotlight series showcases national service providers. We interviewed representatives of the national service providers, as well as our partners, dear members of the CESSDA community. We asked them about the value CESSDA provides their data archive and vice versa.

The Australian Data Archive

ADA is a Core Trust Seal certified repository located at the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods within the Australian National University (ANU). Established in 1981, the ADA has a mandate to collect, preserve, and disseminate digital data related to social, political, and economic issues.

The archive has a catalogue of over 5,000 data sets, making it the sole comprehensive social science data collection in Australia. It holds data from Australian surveys, opinion polls, and censuses, and also includes data from other countries in the Asia Pacific region. The ADA provides specialist services in specific subject areas such as Indigenous studies, electoral behaviour, criminology, and some humanities disciplines. It also offers various types of data, including quantitative, qualitative, time series and panel data, and historical statistics.

Internationally, the ADA is a member of organisations like the International Federation of Data Organizations and the International Association of Social Science Information Service and Technology. It participates in cross-national collaborative projects and manages access to overseas social science data sets for Australian researchers. Domestically, the ADA plays a role on behalf of the Australian Research Council (ARC) by managing and disseminating data collections funded by ARC Discovery and Linkage grants.

The archive is supported by a team of professional data archivists, advised by a panel of social scientists. The National Computational Infrastructure (NCI) provides the online data services and develops the cyberinfrastructure to meet the ADA's requirements.

Steven McEachern about CESSDA 

“CESSDA provides a key reference point for us in terms of being able to benchmark the services that we (ADA) have… but it also provides a model for greater international collaboration (between archives).” Steven McEachern, Director and Manager of ADA.

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