Data archives collect, store, and disseminate social survey data sets that were collected by academic scholars, research institutes and government agencies. Data archives compile a list of collected data sets and release them for public use in order to facilitate secondary analyses by academic users. Data archives perform important functions for the academic community and the entire society. They prevent accidental loss of data by safely storing valuable data. Data archives reduce the burden of individual researchers and research institutions that conduct surveys by compiling, cleaning, and making data available to others on their behalf. By making survey data available for public use, data archives allow researchers who did not collect the data to replicate the analyses, and this practice contributes greatly to improving the standard of social scientific research. Secondary analyses provide opportunities for not only replication but also discovery of new findings which were not reported in primary analyses. Data archives prevent unnecessary repetition or duplication of similar surveys and save time and cost for researchers and reduce the burden of respondents. Data archives help improve the quality of social surveys conducted in the future because researchers who plan to conduct a new survey may consult materials and analyses of existing surveys that are available in the archive.
There are various data archives (broadly defined) exist in Japan. The most comprehensive data archive is the SSJDA which is housed at the Center for Social Research and Data Archives (CSRDA), Institute of Social Science, University of Tokyo. It holds over 1600 data sets, and about 70 new data sets are released every year. About 2800 researchers used over 5000 data sets in 2014. Approximately six percent of the users are from foreign nations. In order to accelerate internationalisation, SSJDA introduced Data Documentation Initiative (DDI), an international standard for data documentation, and Nesstar, a software system for online data analyses. In addition to data archiving activities, CSRDA promotes secondary data analyses by organising seminars on quantitative data analyses and introduction to secondary data analyses using selected surveys available at SSJDA.
Professor Hiroshi Ishida
Hiroshi Ishida is Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Tokyo. He served as the Director of the Institute of Social Sciences and the Director of the Center of Social Research and Data Archives, at the University of Tokyo, from 2012 to 2015. He received his PhD in sociology from Harvard University, conducted post-doctoral research at Nuffield College and St Antony’s College, University of Oxford, and held positions of Assistant and Associate Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. He was a Visiting Professor of Sociology at the University of Michigan and a Visiting Fellow of Sociology at Yale University.
Dr Ishida’s research interests include comparative social stratification and mobility, school-to-work transition, and social inequality over the life course. He is the author of Social Mobility in Contemporary Japan (Stanford University Press) and the co-editor with David Slater of Social Class in Contemporary Japan (Routledge). His work has been published in a number of journals and edited volumes, including American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, European Sociological Review, and Japanese Sociological Review.
Dr Ishida was the president of the Japanese Association of Mathematical Sociology from 2011 to 2013, and currently serves as the secretary/treasurer of the Research Committee on Social Stratification of the International Sociological Association. From 2005 to 2010, he was the editor-in-chief of Social Science Japan Journal, an international journal on social science research on Japan published by Oxford University Press. He is the principal investigator of the Japanese Life Course Panel Surveys, funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. He presently serves on the international editorial board of several journals, including British Journal of Sociology, European Sociological Review, and Social Forces. He is currently the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Official Representative for the University of Tokyo.
Professor Hiroshi Ishida was a Featured Speaker at The Asian Conference on Aging & Gerontology 2015 (AGen2015) in Kobe, Japan.