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Korea Social Science Data Archive

The Korea Social Science Data Archive (KOSSDA) is Korea’s representative data archive, leading in the collection and dissemination of social science research materials. KOSSDA collects data produced by research institutes and individuals, creates digital databases, and provides the material for use in research through the Archive’s website. The Archive also hosts various kinds of academic events and advanced methodology education programs for expanded provision and use of the collected materials. In addition, the Archive carries out research projects related to database construction and development of indicators and participates in international survey research projects.

Research Topics

In 2016, KOSSDA planned and implemented various projects in areas such as the collection and dissemination of materials, education, research, and international exchange under the objective of “Expanding the Foundation of Social Science Research and Developing an Asian Data-Sharing Network.” KOSSDA collected high-quality data from major data-producing organizations and researchers across the nation and made efforts for the dissemination of its holdings by hosting a Data Fair to share methods for the use and analysis of archival data and holding a competition where outstanding academic papers using the archive’s data were given awards. Furthermore, in order to improve the data analysis capability of students and researchers, KOSSDA has introduced and established a methodology education program modeled after programs conducted by archives of advanced nations.

KOSSDA also conducted research projects related to database construction and indicator development. It is currently building a social sciences database for the Korean Research Memory (KRM) project of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) and completed the publication of the annual report “Social Trends in Korea” as well as a reorganization of the Key National Indicators System for Statistics Korea (formerly Korea Nat’l Statistical Office). As part of efforts to construct an Asian data-sharing network, KOSSDA is playing an active part in an association of Asian data archives and conducting a survey research project on social well-being in collaboration with seven Asian countries.

Major Research Outcomes

The most important function of KOSSDA is the collection of research material and the construction of databases with it. In 2016, KOSSDA acquired 191 sets of survey data and developed a database with 72 of those sets. As of February 2017, KOSSDA has accumulated 2,251 sets of survey data and offers 211 databases of qualitative data. Another important function of KOSSDA is facilitating the usage of the developed databases. To that end, KOSSDA holds Data Fairs and research paper competition. The first Data Fair introduced the materials of the Korea General Social Survey, the most widely used data from the archive, and showed several examples of its analysis. At the second Data Fair, KOSSDA presented an overview of the current status and research trends in Korean panel servey data and conducted a special course on analytical methodology of panel servey data. The research paper competiton aims at fostering the empirical research conperence graduate and undergraduate students and encouraging usage of KOSSDA data holdings. Many empirical studies utilizing KOSSDA data were submitted, and of these, three papers that displayed the most refined analytical technique and the highest level of completion received excellence awards.

KOSSDA offers methodology training program developed by benchmarking the Summer Program in Quantitative Methods of Social Research offered by the Univ. of Michigan’s Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) while also taking into consideration characteristics of the Korean circumstance. Every year, KOSSDA operates four methodology training programs divided into winter and summer workshops providing concurrent classroom learning and practical training and spring and fall short-term courses composed of theory lectures. In 2016, KOSSDA offered five classes in the spring, nine classes in the summer, four classes in the fall, and seven classes in the winter with a total participation of approximately 800 students. KOSSDA also opened courses at the SNU Yeongeon campus to accommodate the demand from the northern parts of Seoul.

Beginning in April 2016 and continuing until March 2018, KOSSDA has been developing a social science database for the Korean Research Memory project of the Nat’l Research Foundation of Korea. This project assumes as its primary task the development of the KRM database using findings of the research supported through the Social Sciences Academic Research Support Program of the NRF. In addition, KOSSDA organized a large-scale research team to complete the publication of the 2016 annual report “Social Trends in Korea” and the reorganization of the “Key National Indicators,” the representative national indices of Korea, for Statistics Korea.

KOSSDA participated in an international conference hosted by the Center for Social Well-being Studies of Senshu University and strengthened cooperation for the development of a network for comparative research on social well-being. It also organized an international conference with representative archives of three other countries—SSJDA of the Univ. of Tokyo (Japan), CNSDA of Renmin Univ. (China), and SRDA of Academia Sinica (Taiwan)—to discuss the creation of an association of Asian data archives. As a result of this meeting, the four archives agreed on the foundation of NASSDA and set the directions for its activities.

Outlook and Tasks for the Future

The keywords for the development vision of KOSSDA are “internal reinforcement” and “internationalization.” For over ten years, KOSSDA had focused on quantitative growth. However, with the change of affiliation to SNUAC, it has changed its priorities to qualitative development. The Archive strives to collect data of highest quality and practical value and is making strides to promote the application and dissemination of data by improving its services, making access to collected data more user-friendly. Through these internal reinforcement efforts, KOSSDA strives to become a data archive on par with the data archives of advanced countries such as ICPSR of the US, ESDS of the UK, and GESIS of Germany.

To develop into an Asian research data hub based on the research capacity and networks of SNUAC, KOSSDA will take pain-staking efforts in facilitating the sharing and dissemination of Asia-related data through the development a research data sharing network in cooperation with the Asia Research Center supported by the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies (KFAS), the construction of an archive for comparative research data on social well-being, and the participation in NASSDA.


Jaeyeol Yee et al. (2016). <Korean Social Trends 2016>. Statistics Korea


Jaeyeol Yee (Dept. of Sociology)