Who is the UK Data Service for?

It is a comprehensive resource designed to support researchers, teachers and policymakers who depend on high-quality social and economic data. These include:

  • Academic researchers and students
  • Government analysts - both central and local
  • Charities and foundations
  • Business consultants and data analysts
  • Independent research centres
  • Think tanks.

The UK Data Service incorporates and replaces the former Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS), the Secure Data Service (SDS), the Survey Question Bank and elements of the ESRC Census Programme.

Will all the same data continue to be available?

Yes, and more. The UK Data Service will be continually enhancing its data collections over time. You can search and browse for data, documentation and related resources through the UK Data Service data catalogue.

How much does it cost?

Continued ESRC funding ensures that all materials on the UK Data Service website are available to search and browse free of charge, including data documentation and support guides. Data required for non-commercial purposes can be downloaded at no cost. There is also no fee to register.

There is a charge for commercial use of data, and in certain other instances.

Can I access all data?

Researchers, students and teachers from any discipline, organisation or country may register with the UK Data Service. Most data are available to all registered users, however some data collections have access restrictions due to the data redistribution licences agreed with data providers. Details on any access limitations are available in the individual data records within the UK Data Service data catalogue.

How do I register?

Students and staff from a UK institution of higher or further education can register using the username and password issued by your institution. There slightly different arrangements for non-academic users and those outside the UK. For details, see How to access.

I am already a user of one of the existing services. Will I need to re-register?

No. If you are currently a registered user of ESDS, the Census Programme or Secure Data Service your registration will continue, subject to the usual annual reconfirmation. Your renewal information will reflect the change to the UK Data Service. You can find answers to other common questions in the FAQs for current users.

Will I be able to get 2011 Census data through this service?

Yes. The new UK Data Service- Census Support includes a full range of services providing access to ESRC’s existing collection of census data from 1971 to 2001 as well as the new 2011 Census datasets. Data availability will follow the release of census data in phases by the national statistical agencies (see the Office for National Statistics 2011 Census Prospectus for England and Wales). Separate release schedules will apply to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

I am an ESRC grant holder. Are there any changes to how I deposit data at the end of my grant?

At present, there is no change to the requirements of ESRC grant holders to submit data to the UK Data Service as described in the ESRC Research Data Policy. There is detailed information about how to deposit your data in the Support for ESRC researchers section.

Will there be training available?

Yes, the UK Data Service will have a comprehensive programme of training and development for social science data users, available in a range of formats and locations - see the schedule of current training events.

Will the UK Data Service support the UK census longitudinal studies?

No. The longitudinal studies will be supported by a network of dedicated services and a new UK Census Longitudinal Study Development Hub. While separate, these will collaborate closely with the UK Data Service.

Who can I contact for further advice?

There is an extensive list of frequently asked questions on the UK Data Service website. If you have a specific question that you need help with, get in touch with the helpdesk team.