Background Information and Context

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Identifier information

Repository type

Specialist repository

The ADA’s focus is Social Science data in its broadest interpretation, includes a wide variety of research data involving humans. The ADA is purely a digital data archive that does not preserve physical objects but will digitize and preserve relevant documents and data of interest.


The Australian Data Archive (ADA) provides a national service for the collection and preservation of digital research data and to make these data available for secondary analysis by academic researchers and other users. The archive is based in POLIS: the Social Policy Research Centre (formerly the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods - CSRM) at the Australian National University (ANU). Along with Australian data, ADA is also a repository for studies conducted in other countries, particularly throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

As part of its role, the ADA:

  • Has a team of professional data archivists, advised by a panel of leading social scientists, providing both stewardship and outreach services to the Australian community.
  • Acquires, documents, preserves, and disseminates data online to a broad range of social science researchers in the university, government, and other sectors.
  • Provides the only comprehensive social science data collection in Australia, with a catalogue of over 6000 data files from 1500 projects dating back to 1833 through to the present day.
  • Holds data from Australian surveys, opinion polls and censuses and includes data from other countries within the Asia Pacific region. The ADA data catalogue includes studies from countries including New Zealand, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China and Indonesia.
  • Provides specialist services within specific subject areas, including political science, criminology and Indigenous studies, and for specific data types, including quantitative, qualitative, longitudinal, time series and panel data, and historical statistics.
  • Belongs to international organisations (such as the International Federation of Data Organizations (IFDO) and the International Association of Social Science Information Service and Technology (IASSIST)) and plays a major role in cross-national collaborative projects.
  • Plays an important role on behalf of the Australian Research Council (ARC) through the management and dissemination of ARC funded data collections.

(4) Designated Community

The ADA provides services to a wide variety of public, commercial and academic users in the research, government and other sectors as designated communities. These communities are naturally reflected in the archive’s holdings. The largest group of users in the designated community is the academic cohort, consisting of students and academic researchers.

Specialist services can be provided within specific social science disciplines, including , political science, criminology, Indigenous studies and related disciplines. This extends to specific data types, including quantitative, qualitative, longitudinal, time series and panel data, and historical statistics.

(5) Level of Curation

D. Data-level curation

ADA archivist staff will perform various levels of curation as agreed with the data owner/ data depositor. The level of curation may depend on the type of dataset (quantitative or qualitative) deposited, and its confidentiality (government of longitudinal data), or other factors. In consultation with the data depositor/ data owner, the archivist staff member will make changes to the data ranging from cosmetic changes, such as spelling corrections and label shortening, to aggregation of variable and restricting of variables as required.

(6) Cooperation and outsourcing to third parties, partners and host organisations

The National Computational Infrastructure (NCI)

The NCI provide and house the platforms that the ADA use to deliver its service as well as providing storage locations for the long-term preservation of ADA data. The NCI is also managed by The ANU as seen in Figure 1. with governance provided by the NCI Board, within the limits of the Statutes and Policies of the University. The NCI operates the fastest file systems in the Southern Hemisphere and is the nation’s highly integrated, high performance research computing environment. Further information regarding the NCI Storage Systems can be found at:

The NCI maintain VMWare and VM’s which run the ADA Dataverse servers and provide professional support via their helpdesk facility. ADA staff also have access to the NCI managed RDS; providing additional security when working remotely (for example during the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021).

The ADA collection is supported at NCI as a registered project, and is supported under the ANU’s merit allocation. The ADA collection is therefore subject to the same mandates as all other NCI project scheme storage agreements as detailed at The ADA agree to terms and conditions specified by NCI to use their services such as personal security around logins, user behaviour and other areas.

The Australian Consortium for Social & Political Research Inc (ACSPRI)

The ADA have an ‘as required’ contractual arrangement with ACSPRI to install, maintain, and support ADA software including the various ADA Dataverse applications, Metabase and OSTicket task management and tracking application. The support also extends to the recovery of applications in the event of a loss of data.

(7) Applicants renewing their Core Trust Seal certification: Summary of significant changes since last application

Since the last Core Trust Seal submission, we have:

  • Completed the successful migration of over 1500 datasets (data, metadata and supporting documentation files) from the obsolete Nesstar platform to the ADA Dataverse application.
  • Created a Deposit Dataverse site and developed a Self-Deposit process with comprehensive supporting guidance for depositors. The guidance is accessible via the public facing ADA Self-Deposit wiki site.
  • Transitioned from a legacy website to our current website, with automatic twitter feeds for all major dataset updates and new datasets.
  • Introduced and integrated the OSTicket task management and tracking application with the ADA Production and Deposit Dataverse sites. Providing a complete and recoverable audit trail of ADA workflows, particularly those supporting data deposits and data access requests.
  • Adopted federated Single Sign-On credentials for the ADA Deposit Dataverse Site, the ANU (Indonesian) Dataverse Site, and OSTicket through collaboration with the Australian Access Federation (AAF).
  • Updated the ADA Collection Policy to better reflect the nature of the ADA mission.
  • Physically moved with its organisational hosts, POLIS: The Centre for Social Policy Research (formerly the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods), to the new Research School of Social Sciences Building. Within this building, bespoke facilities have been manufactured for the ADA, including a secure data room and office space.