When the Archive was established, other data archives already existed in the USA, the Netherlands
and Germany, although an article in The Times (1 January 1967), suggests that the German archive did
not have much of a head start: "The German archive at Cologne contained a survey conducted for an oil
company interested in petrol consumption. The survey contained questions about people's weekend travel and
Although media reports of the day portrayed the international archives, particularly those already established
in the USA, as competition for the fledgling British archive, the Archive's activities have always focused on
In June 1976, an informal alliance (the Council of European Social Science Data Archives or CESSDA) was set up
between the Archive and the six other European data archives in existence by then, to promote co-operation as well
as the unrestricted exchange of data between nations. This alliance has grown and, with the addition of Romania and
Luxembourg in 2001, now boasts over 20 member countries.
The Archive has made significant contributions to CESSDA's research and development projects and Kevin Schürer
is currently CESSDA's elected president - the first time that a director from the Archive has held this position.
The Archive has also built strong links outside Europe: the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social
Research (ICSPR) in Michigan, USA, is now one of its main international partners, enabling the Archive's users to access
datasets in the oldest and largest social science data archive in the world.
The Archive's international standing attracts an increasing number of delegates seeking information
and guidance. The visitors' list includes Canadians, Australians, Russians, South Koreans and even a group
from Kyrgyzstan. This year, in January alone, the Archive hosted delegations from the South African Human
Sciences Research Council and the Chinese Academy of Social Science.
Further information on international presence
over the last 40 years.