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On the roles of social science archives

Criticism is what inspires the growth of knowledge - at least in societies that are influenced by the Western world's tradition of rational discourse. In this sense, social research archives create a space for the critical discussion of research results by providing access to data already published and analysed by others. Quite apart from their function of placing research datasets in the public domain and ensuring equal access to them, data archives also increase the cost-effectiveness of research by making primary data collections available for secondary analysis. 

TÁRKI Data Archive, the national digital social research archive in Hungary

About TÁRKI Data Archive (DA), the national digital social research archive in Hungary

TÁRKI Data Archive, the national social science archive is operated by TÁRKI Joint Research Center (TÁRKI JRC), which is a private not-for-profit association of acedemic and educational institutions. Over the past two decades, the Data Archive has collected and archived more than 650 empirical social research data collections that are suitable for secondary analysis. These tend to be Hungarian.
Most of our collection comes from nationally representative sample-survey studies (i.e. micro datafiles). One section of the databases archived is made up of TRKI's own surveys, and the other section comprises surveys from other Hungarian research institutes. We have contributed to a great number of international research efforts. Between 2000 and 2004, TRKI participated in the Consortium of Household Panels for European Socio-Economic Research (CHER), funded under the Fifth EU Framework Programme. TRKI is a member of various international research networks and consortia, such as IFDO (International Federation of Data Organizations), CESSDA (Council of European Social Science Data Archives), ICPSR (Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research), ISSP (International Social Survey Programme), ESS (European Social Survey) and LIS (Luxembourg Income Study).

Things You Might Want to Know about TÁRKI Data Archive

  • TÁRKI Data Archive stores data collections of empirical social research.
  • The data collections contains factographic (ie. numerical) data.
  • The research data are mostly from survey research, but we also archives other factographic data collections (eg. historical data, census, etc).
  • The datasets are available in digital (machine readable) format.
  • The data collections that contains personal data about natural persons - ie. about real people - are anonymized.
  • We store the datasets in SPSS (system and partable) and ASCII formats.
  • Users need special analytical tools (statistical software) and skills to use the data collections.
  • Some of the documentation is available only in Hungarian. We provide translation service to users at cost.
  • We provide assistance to Hungarian users in obtaining international data collections from our partners (CESSDA, ICPSR).

Mission statement of TRKI Data Archive

  • long-term preservation of digital research datasets from domestic and international studies;
  • keeping pace with technological change and participation in the development of data archiving standards;
  • providing access to data collections of empirical studies for users communities;
  • facilitating effective data use by providing access to our own and to our partners' collections.
The mission of our archive is to provide infrastructure service, and support for all stakeholders in social research.

Funding structure

The Data Archive receives its funding from the TRKI JRC membership fees, as well as from grants and research contracts. TRKI Data Archive is part of the National Digital Archive programme. It is supported by the Hungarian National Scientific Research Fund (OTKA).
Logo of National Digital Archive program logo of OTKA (Hungarian Scientific Research Fund)
The development of a digital archive was made possible thanks to a contract with the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications (contract no. IHM 335/5/2003). A grant in 2001-2 from the Office of the Prime Minister, within the framework of the Szchenyi Plan (MeH IKB SZT-IS-1), has also supported our infrastructure development. The Hungarian National Science Fund provided support in data acquisition (contract nos. P 21593, P 24520, P 33401, T 035295).

How we operate?

Data acquisition:

Data acquisition: One of the main sources of acquisition is TRKI's own surveys, conducted by the Survey Unit of TRKI Inc. Other prime sources include collaboration with the Hungarian National Scientific Research Fund (OTKA) and with data organisations and networks.

Data deposition:

We encourage the research community to preserve and disseminate its data throughout our archive. Data depositors should provide the necessary information for archiving. This information is requested on a data deposition sheet. Our colleagues provide assistance to data depositors with filling in the form. The depositors determine the data access category - that is, the dissemination rules we apply to their data collections.

Data archiving:

During archiving we create a metadata sheet based on DDI standards for each data collection. Datasheets are stored in an SQL database, which serves our catalogue and the National Digital Archive's catalogue.
TRKI has developed the National Digital Archive metadata scheme that is based on DDI and Dublin Core.
Related documents:
  • DDI elements

  • Metadata structure: data collection xml schema (Hungarian)

  • Data distributon, dissemination practice: We distribute our collections, according to the dissemination policy determined by depositors, to anyone who is interested in social research. The main conduit for dissemination is the worldwide web. If you would like to check the printed documentation, or want to use our library service, please contact us to make an appointment with data archive staff.

    Participation in R&D projects:

    We are happy to participate in R&D projects (such as EU framework programmes) that fit with our profile of data archiving, metadata processing and social research infrastructure development. Since we are in close co-operation with the TRKI Social Research Institute Inc. Survey Unit and research staff, we are ready to involve ourselves in empirical social research projects. For a complete list of main references, see the research page on our website.
    Logo of DDI alliance