FSD’s Archiving Services

FSD archives your digital research data completely free of charge and in accordance with the FAIR principles.

FSD will handle the long-term preservation and dissemination of your research data securely and reliably. We ensure that data are easily findable and accessible in accordance with the terms and conditions agreed upon by the depositor and the archive.

We archive both quantitative and qualitative data. We will describe the data for you, store them in a file format suitable for reuse and help you with the anonymisation of the data. Your data will be preserved for decades to come reliably and in accordance with current data security regulations and requirements.

Our Data Management Guidelines provide clear and understandable advice on data processing at the different stages of the data life cycle. Our Data Management Policy provides general guidelines and principles for responsible use and access to the data deposited at the FSD.

Guidelines for Depositing Data

FSD archives digital research data that can be reused for research, study or teaching purposes. See our Guidelines for Depositing Data for further information on the archival process and what you need to consider when archiving your data at FSD.

Guidelines for Depositing Data

Suggest data to be archived (Opens in a new tab)

Help with anonymisation

It is very important to us that sharing research data does not compromise the privacy of research participants. As a rule, we expect researchers to anonymise their data. If necessary, we help the researcher to make an anonymization plan.

FSD experts always assess whether the anonymisation done by the researcher is sufficient. For that, we need a description from the researcher of the anonymization done. If necessary, we will make further changes or deletions to the dataset. We ask the researcher for approval of the changes that have been made.

Our Data Management Guidelines contain good, practical advice on how to anonymise data. See the chapter "Anonymisation and Personal Data".

Data are carefully checked

Our data processing personnel examine the data thoroughly. Variables in quantitative data are checked against the questionnaire (or other research instrument), and missing data are reviewed. Detailed information on the contents of the variables and their values are added. Variable and value labels are constructed based on the questionnaire.

All files in the qualitative dataset are opened and their functionality is checked. We name the documents systematically and check the consistency of internal metadata (file naming, labelling).

All alterations to data are carefully documented.

Your data is stored in a file format suitable for reuse

We convert quantitative data into SPSS and comma separated values (*.csv) file formats in which they are delivered to our users. Questionnaires are added to Aila as PDF files.

Qualitative data are mainly converted into TXT, ODT or PDF file format. The purpose of the conversion is to enable reuse of the data independent of the software used. Collection instruments are stored in PDF.

Data are delivered to users as compressed ZIP files.

Data are described in the DDI format

Data archived at FSD are described in XML in the international DDI format, which is specifically designed for social, behavioural, economic, and health sciences.

Information in our data descriptions include, for example

  • author(s) of the study
  • subject and contents of the study
  • sampling procedure
  • data collection
  • analysis unit / unit of observation
  • terms and conditions of data use
  • data format(s)
  • number of variables in quantitative data
  • question texts in the questionnaire
  • documents related to qualitative data (interview questions, invitation letter etc.).

We describe both the content and variables of a study. Our Finnish data descriptions are keyworded using the General Finnish ontology (Opens in a new tab) (YSO) and the English ones using the European Language Social Science Thesaurus (Opens in a new tab) (ELSST). In addition to these, we use several national and international vocabularies and classifications in documenting fields of study and data collection methods, among others.

Detailed data descriptions are essential to make data easy to find and ensure the long-term preservation and reuse of data. Using the DDI specification, written in XML format, in describing the data enables effective searches and generating the metadata in various formats.

Using an international standard also allows easily sharing the metadata to many national and international union catalogues.

Descriptive metadata in DDI format

Data are also described in English

Descriptions of data archived at FSD are always produced both in Finnish and English, which provides international visibility to the data and the researcher.

We translate Finnish quantitative data into English for research use on a discretionary basis for users who do not speak Finnish. However, we are unable to translate qualitative data due to their often much larger size. All of our translation services are free of charge both to users and data depositors.

Your dataset is available in catalogues

We publish the data descriptions in our data catalogue on the Aila Data Service after which they are also automatically published in the national research data finder Etsin and the Finna search service that allows single searches from the holdings of Finnish museums, libraries and archives.

The Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) maintains an international data catalogue (Opens in a new tab) , which allows researchers from all over Europe to also find FSD data.

Extensive study descriptions cover information on the contents, structure, collection, and use of the data, as well as on the variables, questions, data collection documents, and related publications.

We collect information about publications using your data

Registered Aila users commit to notify FSD about any publications based on the archived data.

Researchers may also request an annual report on the use of their data in publications. We also list the publications based on the data in the dataset description on Aila.

Data are assigned PIDs

From spring 2016 onwards, FSD has assigned all archived data persistent URN identifiers or PIDs. Persistent identifiers ensure that data can be found even if they are transferred to a new location for some reason.

Dataset gets a persistent identifier already when the archiving process begins. Upcoming data releases page offers URNs of datasets that are still being processed.

Users are reminded to cite data

The users of data archived at FSD commit to properly cite the data.

FSD prepares a model citation for each dataset to make citing as easy as possible to users. Model citations are published in data descriptions. Data users can copy the citation in their bibliography as is or edit it to correspond to the citation practices of their field or publication.