Access Some Areas: Reforming Access Categories for Data in a Social Science Data Archive

  • Laurence Horton University of Toronto Faculty of Information
  • Anja Perry GESIS, Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences


In this paper we outline the process of revising data access categories for research data sets in GESIS – a large European social science data archive based in Germany. The challenge is to create a minimal set of workable access conditions that cope with a) facilitating as “open as possible, closed as necessary” expectations for data reuse; b) map on to existing legacy access categories and conditions in a data archive.

The paper covers the work done in gathering data on data access categories used by data archives in their existing data catalogues, the choices offered to depositors of data in their user agreements, and work done by other data reuse platforms in categorising access to their data. Finally, we talk through the process of refining a minimal set of data access conditions for the GESIS data archive.


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