New study reveals impact of ESS data

08/03/22

A new study highlights a wide range of academic, non-academic and teaching impacts as a result of European Social Survey (ESS) data.

The report - Impact study of the European Social Survey - was conducted by Technopolis Group (UK), with bibliometric analysis from the Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS), University of Leiden.

The study was completed in the same month that European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, Mariya Gabriel, cited our impact in an interview with the European Research Infrastructure for Science, technology and Innovation policy Studies (RISIS).

Gabriel said: “One can mention concrete and non-academic impact of the European Social Survey, ESS ERIC, which measures the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of diverse populations in more than thirty nations.

“An analysis of its data by Norway contributed to a better monitoring of health inequalities in Europe; another use of data contributed to an improved training of judges and support for reforms of the judiciary in Portugal.”

This new Technopolis report found that our data is increasingly used as a teaching tool, across participating countries and in an increasing number of institutions.

Analysis of our data established that, as of June 2021, there were 182,778 registered users - almost double the figure at the start of the original Impact Study (June 2016).

The number of registered users has grown consistently by 14-15% in each of the last five years and 74% registered users have downloaded our data.

Technopolis suggests that the overall number of academic publications including significant analysis of our data has increased by at least 150% since the first Impact Study.

Including various different publication types and non-English language publications, University of Ljubljana data suggests that there are over 7,500 publications in existence (the first Impact Study reported 2,704).

Centre for Science and Technology Studies (CWTS) was able to identify 2,448 academic publications listed on Web of Science, which compares to around 1,000 in the previous study.

The citation impact of these publications is well above average, being about 70% more highly cited than average, with 21% of all ESS publications belonging to the top 10%. The journals in which work is being published have a citation impact of 40% above the world average.

In the report, Technopolis detail several examples of non-academic impact, of many different types and across different domains.

This included data being used for insight by NGOs or government ministries, agencies or advisory bodies; and data being used to highlight a particular problem or challenge, leading to policy action.

The study also reported that data was used in the news media to Influence public debate or highlight social issues; and our indicators are used to assess whether certain policies are achieving the desired outcomes.

Professor Rory Fitzgerald, Director of ESS ERIC, said:

“This detailed and thorough report highlights the extensive impact of the ESS ERIC infrastructure. From students to policy makers, our data and findings are having direct influence.

“The report also provides the opportunity to reflect on the impact of the ESS and consider how it might be further enhanced, especially in influencing policy nationally, and at EU level.”

This new report is a follow-up to Comparative impact study of the ESS ERIC, also conducted by Technopolis in 2016/17, and was produced as part of ESS-SUSTAIN-2 (Horizon 2020, grant agreement number 676166).

SUSTAIN-2: Impact study of the European Social Survey