Data archived at the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD) can be used for research, study and teaching purposes according to access conditions set for the data by original data creators and the Archive.

Research refers to work in research institutes, universities or other equivalent organisations in which answers to research questions are sought through systematic analysis of data and application of the research methods of the field. Teaching refers to courses at universities, universities of applied sciences or equivalent organisations. By study we mean studies under the supervision of a teacher, lecturer etc. at universities, universities of applied sciences or equivalent organisations.

Data are available for use at no cost. FSD User Services are happy to help with any questions related to data.

Our services are available for researchers around the world. The map above shows the research institutions and universities to which data have been delivered.

Downloading data

Data can be downloaded online from the Aila Data Service.

Even without registration, users can browse the data catalogue, search for data, browse study descriptions and variables, and download open access data. By registering, users can download datasets that have access conditions.

Aila login is supported by the Haka identity federation for the Finnish higher education and research institutions. Users can register with Aila using their personal Haka credentials, such as the user ID and password issued by their university. If you do not have Haka credentials, you can apply for an Aila username and password. These are primarily issued to students and researchers from foreign universities as well as to personnel of Finnish research organisations that do not belong to the Haka federation. See Aila help.

Translation of data into English

All quantitative and qualitative datasets archived at FSD are described both in Finnish and English, giving an overview of the dataset and its methodology.

For users who do not speak Finnish, FSD translates quantitative data (question texts and response categories) into English for research use on a discretionary basis, free of charge. Qualitative data are available in their original language only and are not translated.

Many quantitative data files are already available in English. These data can be found by selecting English as the data file language on Aila search and data catalogue. If the data you need have not been translated yet, you can request a translation by contacting FSD User Services.

If your translation request is approved, User Services will give you an estimate of the time translation will take. After the data have been translated, you can download the dataset(s) online from the Aila Data Service. We will inform you when the download is possible.

Please include the following information in your request:

  • Title of the dataset(s) and the dataset ID(s)
  • Your name and contact details (home organisation, email)
  • Title of the research
  • Short description of the research

File formats

Quantitative data are delivered in SPSS (*.sav), SPSS Portable (*.por) as well as comma separated values (*.csv) formats. Please contact our User Services if you wish to access quantitative data in a format other than those. We use Stat/Transfer software (Opens in a new tab) to convert the data.

Short instructions on opening SPSS Portable files in R environment are available on our website.

Qualitative data are delivered in the format they are archived in. Most are text files (ODT, TXT, PDF). There is often also a separate HTML-version for textual data, facilitating browsing and finding files. Some data consist of images or audio files (e.g. JPEG, MP3).

Questionnaires etc. are delivered in PDF file format. All files of a dataset are downloaded as compressed ZIP folders from the Aila Data Service.

Data file formats

Data storage and disposal

When storing and using archived data, users must take sufficient measures to guarantee data security, and the privacy and confidentiality of research participants and third parties potentially mentioned in the data. Analysis results based on archived data shall be reported in a manner that there is no risk of disclosing the identity of any research subject (e.g. using statistical tables/charts).

Only the person(s) named in the access application may access the data. Data may only be used for the purposes stated in the access application after which the data must be securely erased and the files deleted from the hard disk or any other storage media. If the data are needed for some other research or teaching purpose, a new access application must be sent/emailed to FSD. See General Terms and Conditions for Data Use.

More information on data disposal in Data Management Guidelines.

Citing data

The source must be acknowledged in any text, table or chart based wholly or in part on the data.

Instructions on citing archival data

We keep a record of all publications where the data archived at FSD have been used. The publication may be, for instance, a Bachelor's or Master's thesis, a book, part of a book, a doctoral thesis, a report, or an article. We do not need to be notified if you have used the data for seminar papers in your basic studies. We do not need the publication itself, only the bibliographic citation for it. When informing us about a publication, please also include the persistent identifier (e.g. urn, doi, hdl) if one has been assigned for your electronic publication. Please specify the related dataset in your message.

Examples of bibliographic citations:

  • von Schoultz, Åsa & Wass, Hanna (2016). Beating Issue Agreement: Congruence in the Representational Preferences of Candidates and Voters. Parliamentary Affairs 69(1), 136-158. doi:10.1093/pa/gsv001 [FSD2653]
  • Kuula, Meri (2021). "Tuon opettajan asenne, sanat, katseet ja hyväksyntä, ne ovat kantaneet jossakin sisimmässäni minua läpi elämän". Merkittävät opettajakokemukset ja kokemusten vaikutukset. Master's Thesis in Educational Studies. Tampere: Tampere University. [FSD3412]

You can email the information to our User Services at