Data Curation

Data Curation (DCUR) facilitates the use of social science and humanities data for secondary analysis.  To this end, we encourage good data management practices and curate both quantitative and qualitative research data on behalf of the HSRC or other data owners.

The HSRC Act (No. 17 of 2008), which governs the HSRC as a public research entity, articulates an imperative in terms of publishing data sets to underpin research, policy development and public discussion of the key issues of development. Access to research data is promoted to accelerate the development of solutions to address the challenges of society and to enable developing researchers to contribute to the corpus of scientific knowledge through secondary data analysis.

The curation process is governed by the HSRC data preservation and data sharing policies. The majority of HSRC data will be made available for sharing within 24 months after the official completion date of the project concerned. Planning for data preservation and sharing is done when protocols are submitted to the HSRC Research Ethics Committee. Research programmes deposit the research data, together with metadata describing the data at the Data Curation unit. Subsequently, the Research Data Curators:

  • Audit the deposited data and documents,
  • Check and verify the data,
  • Check for possible confidentiality issues and assist with anonymisation for dissemination, if necessary,
  • Load files into the HSRC's e-repository (Knowledge Tree),
  • Describe the data in terms of a structured metadata standard, called DDI (Data Documentation Initiative),
  • Generate unstructured metadata that describe the data,
  • Convert files to preservation and dissemination formats.
  • According to access requirements the data is made available through the HSRC’s web site.  Open access is provided to some data sets, while registered or restricted access is applied to others.  The metadata for all data sets, as well as documents which provide context is disseminated for all data sets.
  • Archival formats of files are preserved for future use.