Advancing Data-Driven Research in the Social Sciences

The Data Cooperative (CO-OP) Platform for Social Impact and Wellbeing is a new form of collaboration that enables participants to share their data and its capabilities to create collective impact.
A cartoon of four people, each working with data on a quadrant of a table. The quadrants are pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle.

The Data Cooperative (CO-OP) Platform for Social Impact and Wellbeing is a new form of collaboration that enables participants to share their data and its capabilities to create collective impact. It aims to advance data-driven research in the social sciences by making access to linked datasets more effective and affordable.

The platform takes an innovative approach to the difficult problem of data aggregation and integration to realise the benefits of the diverse range of data types and data sources now available, both existing and dynamically generated, to drive new research insights and improve outcomes for disadvantaged urban, regional and rural communities.  The main focus of this infrastructure supports research in public health, community wellbeing and social policy.

In Jan 2020, a new ARC Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) project was awarded to Swinburne University of Technology, University of Melbourne, University of Tasmania, Griffith University, and the Australian National University to create the Data CO-OP Platform for Social Impact and Wellbeing, collectively this project has received more than one million dollars investment from all participating universities and ARC. LIEF grants enable researchers to participate in cooperative initiatives so that expensive research infrastructure, equipment and facilities can be shared between higher education organisations and also with Industry. It also fosters collaboration through its support of the cooperative use of international or national research facilities.

A/Prof Amir Aryani, Head of Social Data Analytics Lab at Swinburne University of Technology says the project will form the foundation for cross-sectoral data-driven collaboration.

“This innovative initiative between universities, government and not-for-profit community sector organisations in Australia and internationally will help to improve community health, wellbeing and social outcomes for disadvantaged and vulnerable groups,” A/Prof Aryani said.

Reflecting on the origins of the project, A/Prof Aryani credits the ARDC’s Data and Service project initiative as the platform that stimulated community gatherings and initial discussions around the Data CO-OP concept.

“By leveraging the collaboration opportunities from the project call to clarify the community purpose, we used that insight which in turn contributed directly to the LIEF grant success,” A/Prof Aryani said.

The grant funded Data CO-OP projects supported by this new platform will provide an evidence base that can be used to analyse and inform public health and social policy interventions across local, regional, state and national levels and the consequent measurement and evaluation of their outcomes.

Learn more about the Data CO-Op project submission at ARDC or head directly to their website.