ICPSR launches new repository for COVID-19 data


The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research has created a new archive for data examining the social, behavioral, public health and economic impact of the novel coronavirus global pandemic.

The COVID-19 Data Repository is a free, self-publishing option for any researcher or journalist who wants to share data related to COVID-19. The data will be available to any interested user for secondary analysis.

The project is being led by ICPSR Director Margaret Levenstein, who said the repository will capture data to help researchers and journalists understand and respond to the pandemic.

“The response of the scientific community, including social, behavioral and economic scientists, as well as the amazing efforts of journalists, to the COVID-19 pandemic has created a wealth of data that will help us to respond to the current crisis, address its long-term impacts, and build policies and institutions so that this never happens again,” said Levenstein, who also is a research professor at ICPSR and the Survey Research Center in the Institute for Social Research, and at the School of Information.

“This is only possible if these data are FAIR — findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable — so ICPSR has stepped in, leveraging its 58 years of experience stewarding data resources, to create the COVID-19 Data Repository.

“We encourage scientists, journalists, students and others to share data resources that they create through the repository. Each data deposit will receive a unique persistent identifier (a digital ID), a standardized citation and, most importantly, will be accessible to others for future analysis.”

Levenstein emphasized that, especially with the rapid pace of both the pandemic and the understanding of it, capturing data that is developed at different points in time is key to understanding it and improving response.

“As a mission-driven organization, committed to social science in the public interest, ICPSR is pleased to be able to offer this resource to the community,” Levenstein said. “Please share with others and encourage them to share their data. And please let those who are looking for data on the social, behavioral, public health and economic aspects of the epidemic to look in the COVID-19 data repository.”

ICPSR has put together a resource page for guidelines on publishing data in the COVID-19 Data Repository and a Guide to Social Science Data Preparation that offers best practices to prepare data for sharing.

Repository deposits are most useful if they include all data, annotated program code, command files, and documentation necessary to understand the data collection or replicate research findings.


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