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The project will analyse and survey perceptions of the value of digital collections held by the Archaeology Data Service and how those perceptions of value can be measured.

Impact of the Archaeology Data Service (ADS)

a study and methods for enhancing sustainability

Final report available

The project will analyse and survey perceptions of the value of digital collections held by the Archaeology Data Service and how those perceptions of value can be measured. As part of this work, we will assess and quantify the economic impact of those collections with the ultimate objective of improving their prospects for sustainability. We will explore a range of methods and sources of data including investigating data from 1996-2011 on the growth of collections and users at ADS and how return on investment grows with the collections. A focus of the project is disseminating our findings and recommendations to the wider JISC and research data communities.

Although a number of studies have looked at methods of determining cost benefit and broad indicators of value, there remain significant challenges in establishing baseline data for measuring this in any quantitative way and there are still only a relatively small number of socio-economic studies focussing specifically on the impact of data services or research data infrastructure. The ‘activity-based costing method’ is potentially useful for assessing the costs of a data service or its economic impact on the creators and users of the data it holds.

This method is widely used in other sectors and has been taken up by the Keeping Research Data Safe (KRDS) Activity Model for research data. The KRDS Activity Model has been tested against a range of research data services and a set of broad heuristics for research data archiving costs were established. The perceptions of all relevant stakeholders will be explored via surveys and selective follow-up interviews. The perception of value will include qualitative as well as quantitative measures and economic as well as non-economic factors. We will describe our methods and findings in a series of dissemination activities to stakeholders via newsletters, conference presentations, and a project workshop.We will critically evaluate our project and lessons learnt and formulate recommendations, advice and guidance to the wider JISC and research data communities that will be disseminated via a summary factsheet and presentations at relevant JISC events and conferences such as the IDCC conference.

Project Staff

Dr Stuart Jeffrey
Deputy Director(Access), ADS
Tel: 01904 323930
Address: The King’s Manor, York, Y01 7EP

Dr Neil Beagrie,
Director, Charles Beagrie Ltd
Tel: +44 (0)1722338482
Address: 2 HelenaTerrace, College Street, Salisbury, SP1 3AN

Prof. John Houghton
Director, InformationTechnologies and the Information Economy Program
Centre for StrategicEconomic Studies (CSES), Victoria University
Tel: + (03) 9919 1340
Address: PO Box14428, Melbourne, Victoria, 8001, Australia

Start date
1 February 2012
End date
31 July 2013
Funding programme
Digital preservation & records management programme
Project website
Lead institutions

Archaeology Data Service –    

Partner institutions

Charles Beagrie Ltd -

Centre for StrategicEconomic Studies (CSES) -