Australia’s social science research infrastructure needs to be better integrated and interoperable in order to keep up with leading-edge global research and research infrastructures currently operating in the US and Europe.
Much of the existing Australian infrastructure is underdeveloped, too small, has limited integration with other research infrastructure and is not well coordinated. Key existing social science data infrastructure has limited resources currently available to integrate or expand significant existing data resources and user base. A significant proportion of the available data involves serious privacy considerations and needs to be kept confidential.
These constraints have led to a relatively fragmented infrastructure landscape for Australian empirical social science researchers.
The Integrated Research Infrastructure for the Social Sciences (IRISS) project is addressing this fragmentation, establishing a new foundation for the integration of data, analysis and platforms for social science research in Australia. The starting point for this infrastructure is a core foundation of data – its acquisition, documentation, harmonisation and dissemination for re-use.
For 40 years ANU has maintained critical data infrastructure, the Australian Data Archive, to meet the needs of social science research. This project will extend and enhance that critical data infrastructure by developing integrated data and research infrastructure to meet the needs of the social sciences as well as related disciplines that build their evidence base on longitudinal, demographic and geospatial data.
Who Will Benefit
Establishing IRISS will give researchers more widespread access to Australia’s social sciences data, accelerating the development of social sciences data analysis and visualisation capability in Australian research and industry.
We’re partnering with Australian National University to deliver the platform.
The activities undertaken in this project are establishing the foundations of the IRISS infrastructure, focusing on support for quantitative social science in Phase One (2021 to 2023).
IRISS is focusing on the following project objectives, through a series of six coordinated work packages:
- establishing a coordinated governance and integration model for the provision of data and infrastructure in the social sciences and related disciplines in Australia
- enhancing the research capacity of Australian social science researchers, through the development of tools and services to enable the creation, dissemination and use of quantitative and qualitative social science data sources
- enabling a cost-effective and accessible data integration environment (for lower-risk data).
- Visit the IRISS website
- View the project’s outreach activities, including presentations and papers.
- Watch the initial project plan webinar.
- Read the revised project plan, and the response to feedback.
- Read the overview of the Roundtable for Social Science Research Infrastructure. The roundtable convened representatives from Australian universities, research institutes, Australian government science and data agencies, community organisations, Academies and national collections convened in Canberra to discuss planning and investment in the critical social science research infrastructure needed to address the social and economic challenges facing Australia over the next decade.