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Dear Socnet,

I have a slightly unusual SNA matter and would really appreciate feedback and thoughts from the community.

I work for a well-known research data center that provides access to many thousands of dataset to researchers free-of-charge. Whilst we store a great deal of data we don't presently have much available that could be used for SNA. As a keen network user myself I would very much like to develop a new repository for SNA data and have started having discussions with my organisation about this.

My thought is that the RDC will provide a platform to archive and disseminate SNA data, ideally in a format that is not software specific. Whilst there are similar projects elsewhere (and I thank their owners for their hard work) I believe that as an experienced research data center we have the expertise and tools to really develop this further. For example, we are able to archive sensitive data and make it available securely to users, while protecting the respondents; this would facilitate more network data being made available for research as data deemed too sensitive for open release could be disseminated. There would also be advantages for data owners as we have the resources to archive your data safety, prepare it for use, and allow the owners to set the conditions for access. The data would still be available without charge to users, we do not require fees or make money with paywalls etc.

At the moment this is something I would like my organisation to provide for researchers, and if there is interest from the community for this then I would certainly be able to put forward a strong argument for the resources for this to happen. So I would really like to know what the SNA community thinks about this, is there need for the secure storage of network data? If you are running a network study, would you consider making the data available through a repository?

Any advice and thoughts would be most welcome. I appreciate it is bad netiquette but my employer has asked that at present we remain anonymous in case we aren't able to provide this service. Obviously if there is demand, and with community input we can make a really useful tool for everyone, then we will start engaging directly and disseminating the proposed service.

Best wishes,

Simon

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