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CSSR – new entrance to data about Danes

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Danish survey data and registers about the population are unique in a global context, but accessing them requires patience, knowledge and the right contacts. A new centre, hosted by SFI, aims to rectify this.

In early September, the Centre for Survey and Survey/Register Data (CSSR) opened its virtual doors to business. Behind the unassuming name lays a unique Danish service to health and social sciences researchers worldwide: the possibility of accessing large, Danish population surveys on subjects such as education, employment, health, family, children and child welfare, ageing, work and values – combined with relevant register data about the respondents.

The website www.cssr.dk is the hub of the new centre, and a quarterly newsletter – the first edition of which hit computers worldwide a few weeks ago – brings news of the latest projects and possibilities presented by CSSR.

Two products

CSSR is a collaboration between the major quantitative research environments at Danish universities and research institutions, including SFI, which also hosts the centre in Copenhagen. CSSR offers access to two major products.

The first product is the CSSR Open Access Databank. Via the website www.cssr.dk, the CSSR provides a central entrance to a number of large population surveys conducted in Denmark. Some are specifically Danish, such as the Longitudinal Study of Children, others consist of the Danish part of large international surveys, such as the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), PISA, and the European Values Survey (EVS). The databank contains documentation in English and easy download of the survey, and is open to anyone interested.

The second product is the Survey/Register Databank which provides access to comprehensive data sets consisting of the survey data linked to relevant register information about the individual respondents in the survey. This service is provided in collaboration with Statistics Denmark and is only available to academic researchers who are affiliated with a Danish academic institution. Foreign researchers can gain access to the Danish combined survey-register data by participating in joint research projects with Danish researchers in one of CSSR’s member institutions. CSSR will happily assist in creating relevant contacts to Danish research environments with experience in using survey and register data.

Danish possibilities

The latter part of CSSR’s service – the merging of survey and register data – is made possible by the Danish Civil Registration System (CPR), which is managed by Statistics Denmark. The CPR system makes it possible to identify individuals in administrative registers and to follow them over time. However, the data sets generated by the CSSR are entirely anonymized and do not contain individual CPR numbers.

“Denmark offers a range of possibilities to combine survey and register data that you don’t see in many other places in the world – but until now the surveys have not been centrally stored and available. Furthermore, a lot of the material has only been available in Danish, which obviously makes it difficult for international researchers to use. An important goal for CSSR is to provide easy access to information and documentation in English,” explains Mette Gørtz, head of CSSR.

Together with data manager Leif Jensen, she manages the daily running of the new center. Among the activities to come is a one-day course in the use of combined survey and register data, set to take place in Copenhagen in the autumn of 2011.

CSSR also aims at further collaboration between Danish and international research environments, thereby strengthening the already strong Danish position in quantitative social and health sciences research.

“In order to access Danish register data for research purposes, you need to collaborate with a Danish academic institution – this is a prerequisite from Statistics Denmark, which stores the data. So naturally, an important role for CSSR will be to facilitate contacts between researchers in Denmark and abroad in order to further joint research projects. And we hope this work will result in a lot of exciting research, based on Danish data, being published internationally in the years to come,” concludes Mette Gørtz.

Read more and sign up for the newsletter at www.cssr.dk.

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