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International data forum

The aims of the International Data Forum (IDF) are to provide the mechanisms through which data needs for future cross-national collaborative research on social scientific issues can be identified and prioritised, and to co-ordinate efforts by national research funding agencies and statistical authorities to make data more widely available for research purposes.

The ISSC will participate in and work with the IDF to help foster a co-ordinated approach which ensures that access to databases and data examination tools is equalized across all countries and regions of the world.

The ISSC co-sponsored the IDF Foundation Conference, which was held in Beijing, China, on 5-7 June 2007. This conference was hosted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and co-funded by the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Germany’s Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the Economic and Social Research Council of the UK, and the University of Warwick, UK. The idea for the forum developed out of a Social Science Research Council (SSRC) project on the internationalisation of the social sciences.

IDF conference papers and the final conference report can be downloaded from

Participants in the Foundation Conference represented social scientists, research administrators and policy makers from 22 countries and 3 multi-national organisations. Delegates included ISSC President, Gudmund Hernes, and Secretary-General, Heide Hackmann.

All conference delegates agreed to sustain the IDF, and mandated a Founding Committee to take forward ideas from the meeting, and to produce and cost a strategic plan for the formation of the IDF. The Founding Committee’s work should be completed by the beginning of 2008. The Beijing conference delegates further agreed to hold a second meeting of the IDF alongside the ISSC’s World Social Science Forum in the spring of 2009.

Ekkehard Mochmann, ISSC Senior Advisor on Social Science Data

The ISSC is represented in the Founding Committee by Dr Ekkehard Mochmann, Director of the German Social Science Infrastructure Services (GESIS) and Administrative Director of the Central Archive for Empirical Social Research (GESIS-ZA) at the University of Cologne in Germany.