Data archiving for dissemination within a Gulf nation
Since 2008, Qatar University’s Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI), has been collecting nationally representative survey data on social and economic issues. In 2017, SESRI leadership established an Archiving Unit tasked with data preservation and dissemination both for internal purposes and with the intent of disseminating select data to the public for secondary analysis.
This paper reviews the lessons learned from creating a data archive in an emerging economy where both cultural and political sensitivities exist amid varied groups of stakeholders. Challenges have included recruiting trained personnel, developing policies for data selection and workflow objectives, processing restricted and non-restricted datasets and metadata, data security issues, and promoting usage. Additionally, there is hope that the presence of the Archiving Unit adds value for other SESRI research staff involved in the design, collection, documentation, and processing of studies. After successfully addressing these challenges over the past year, the Archive met its objective to launch a data center at the Institute’s website (http://sesri.qu.edu.qa) and to make multiple datasets available for public download from it. Also, to be discussed are the tools, processes and leveraging of resources that are being implemented as the archiving process continues to evolve.
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