HASS and Indigenous Research Data Commons

HASS and Indigenous Research Data Commons

Accelerating the impact of HASS and Indigenous research in Australia
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About the HASS and Indigenous Research Data Commons

In collaboration with Indigenous Australians, the research community, industry and government, the HASS and Indigenous Research Data Commons (HASS and Indigenous RDC) is harnessing research data to enhance Australian social and cultural wellbeing, and help Australia understand and preserve our culture, history and heritage.

New digital platforms and data directories will improve how researchers discover and access Australia’s rich HASS and Indigenous data and innovative analysis tools. The program is also upskilling researchers to use data-driven approaches to HASS and Indigenous research, ensuring Australian researchers gain a competitive advantage through data.

As an engine for research translation, the HASS and Indigenous RDC will enable researchers to develop and sustain cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary data collaborations at a national scale through federated models. It integrates the ARDC’s services for compute, storage infrastructure, persistent identifiers and data discovery with analysis platforms and tools that are supported by expertise, standards and best practices.

HASS and Indigenous research is research about people. It guides and informs government and community service decisions, drives innovation, creates new industries and regulatory frameworks, and helps us to understand and preserve our culture, history and heritage.

The 2016 National Research Infrastructure Roadmap identified opportunities to accelerate the impact of HASS and Indigenous research. It recommended improving the overall coordination of research infrastructure that supports access to, and analysis of, physical and digital collections using tools such as digitisation, aggregation and interpretation platforms.

The Australian Government Department of Education subsequently commissioned 3 studies that identified a number of investment-ready programs that would benefit from National Research Infrastructure funding.

Download the scoping studies from:

While not all recommendations within those scoping studies were funded at this time, the activities earmarked to participate in the initial round of development displayed an advanced state of readiness to participate in and benefit from a HASS and Indigenous RDC.

In 2023, the ARDC-led HASS and Indigenous RDC received the largest ever investment in HASS research infrastructure in Australia. The $25 million grant from the Australian Government’s 2023 National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) Funding Round, along with co-investment from national partners, will continue to deliver long-term, enduring national digital research infrastructure to support HASS and Indigenous researchers in Australia.

The HASS and Indigenous RDC is accelerating research by helping institutions share data more freely, ethically and cooperatively, following the FAIR and CARE data principles as well as Indigenous data governance protocols.

The program brings together existing and ongoing investments in text analysis, cultural collections, linguistics, social sciences and Indigenous data.

The infrastructure will enhance research in a broad range of fields including:

  • linguistics
  • social sciences
  • education
  • Australian cultural studies
  • history
  • Indigenous studies
  • economics
  • commerce
  • tourism
  • creative arts
  • law and legal studies.

Our Work

Explore the programs and projects we lead under the HASS and Indigenous RDC.


This program is guided by expert representatives from relevant national and international bodies in the HASS and Indigenous research domains:

Advisory Panel

  • Chair and representative from the Higher Education Library community – Jill Benn, University Librarian at the University of Western Australia, Chair of the Council of Australian University Librarians, Board Member of the International Association of University Libraries, Council member of the Research Data Alliance, Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Academy of the Humanities representative – Policy and Research Director Dr Kylie Brass
  • International HASS digital research infrastructure representative – Ron Dekker, Director of CESSDA ERIC, the Consortium of Social Science Data Archives, Coordinator of Social Sciences and Humanities Open Cloud, Project Leader of the European Open Science Cloud Future project
  • Academy of Social Sciences representative – CEO Dr Chris Hatherly
  • Indigenous research community representative – Professor Peter Radoll FRSN

Technical Advisory Group

  • Dr Tom Honeyman, ARDC (Chair)
  • Professor Hugh Craig, University of Newcastle
  • Owen O’Neill, Freelance
  • Dr Craig Bellamy, Australasian Association for Digital Humanities
  • Technical leads of the HASS and Indigenous RDC projects

Target Outcomes

The HASS and Indigenous RDC will produce digital platforms that will improve access to Australia’s rich HASS and Indigenous data and provide innovative analysis tools. The projects are:

This platform will capitalise on existing infrastructure, rescue vulnerable and dispersed collections, and link with improved analysis environments for new research outcomes.

This project has improved the Trove pages for researchers and updated the public Trove API to provide better support for Australian HASS researchers.

This platform will improve the capacity of researchers to access, preserve and disseminate quantitative and qualitative social sciences data sources, and will drive the development of systems and tools for capturing new and emerging real-time – or near real-time – data.

We are collaborating with the Indigenous Data Network at the University of Melbourne to consolidate and expand on its technological, training and governance initiatives.

This platform will facilitate researcher access to data from important collections and archives, and provide tools and software to analyse the data.

The HASS and Indigenous RDC is also supported by 3 integration activities. The integration activities deal with specific technical and infrastructure challenges identified by the projects. They are:

Researcher moving in a library

Resources for Researchers

Resources for Researchers

The HASS and Indigenous RDC builds on the ARDC’s experience working in partnerships to deliver digital research infrastructure for HASS and Indigenous researchers, which has culminated in a wide range of datasets, free tools and upskilling materials. Explore these resources.