Over CISER’s past 37 years, we have maintained and continue to enhance the core services for which CISER was established, providing front-line resources to meet research and teaching support needs. Here is a selection of advancements that have brought us to where we are today.
1981: The Cornell Institute for Social and Economic Research was founded.
The charter began by stating “the social sciences at Cornell have size, breadth, and strength that are rare in American Universities.” To support and strengthen this unique diversity the first charge for the Committee on Computing – Archiving was to “assess the needs of Cornell’s social scientists with respect to computing – including hardware, software and consulting – and data archives.”
1982: The CISER Data Archive was established.
In an application to the Directory of Special Libraries and Information Centers, the Archive was described as “a centralized information center and clearinghouse for the acquisition, storage, and access of machine-readable data.”
1984: Data Archive’s Growing Influence.
The 1984 development plan referenced the existence of a large effective data archive. A goal to enrich the overall services being provided was to “develop a supportive internal and external environment…for Cornell’s social science research community.”
(Today, CISER is a world-renowned leader in the science of data; involved in multiple national and international associations and making these resources available to the Cornell community.)
1990: Continued focus on data and computing.
An assessment identified the need for greater emphasis on extracting the documentation of data, making it easier to locate data for individual research projects. For computing, it was a need to meet the increasing demand for consulting, including custom programming.
1997: Affirmation of CISER’s role as a service organization.
There was clear agreement that CISER should continue to act as a service organization to support social science research on campus. In terms of goals, for computing this included keeping ahead of changing technology. And, for the data archive this meant providing services aimed at making the research process less burdensome.
1999: The Cornell Restricted Access Data Center (CRADC) was established.
CISER was an NSF-sponsored pilot site for providing secure access to confidential research data. Through this pilot, CRADC took shape and has since evolved to provide a full range of secure environments to meet individual data provider requirements.
(CRADC is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the provision of restricted-access computing environments.)
2005: CISER becomes official University custodian of restricted access data sets.
The Office of the Vice Provost for Research designated CRADC as the University custodian of restricted access data sets.
2005: Census Bureau Research Data Center opened at Cornell within CISER.
This resource made it possible for Cornell researchers to work with Census Bureau data at Cornell, rather than have to travel to the CB headquarters in Maryland or to NYC to another RDC. Cornell’s location is the only outside a major metropolitan area.
2012: Collaboration established with German Institute for Employment Research.
An agreement with the Institute allows approved researchers to securely access confidential administrative microdata on German labor markets. Access is by thin client connection to servers in Germany from a restricted room at CISER. A research project between CISER and the Institute studied the possibility of providing access to less restricted files through CRADC.
2015: Roper Center to Cornell University.
CISER initiated and was instrumental in the successful proposal for Cornell to become the new home for the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, the world’s largest archive of public opinion data. CISER staff completed the transition of the Roper Center’s Data Archive to Cornell in November 2015 and served as its temporary administrative home until Roper@Cornell was fully in place.
2016: Research Results Reproduction (R-squared) pilot started.
A pilot project for a new consulting service was initiated. It was designed to meet the need related to revise and resubmit papers before submitting.
2017: Cloud-computing pilot started.
CISER’s shared computing model has met the needs of researchers for many years. With the advent of more high-capacity computing in the social sciences, a cloud option was piloted to meet the individual needs, at the same time helping to maintain the efficiency of the shared environment for the vast majority of researchers.
CISER’s role has continued to include a focus on “acquiring and managing research resources” as identified in the preliminary proposal for CISER. The mission continues to be focused on supporting the work of social scientists and economists across the data lifecycle.