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Data for Development: Data Creation and Curation

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The Data for Development Initiative has created a free, open-source online data portal to centralize survey data from projects in development economics.  With this web platform, hosted by Redivis, researchers are able to easily search for, access, and aggregate data across studies.  

Currently over 100 datasets are available on the Redivis platform.  In one example project, we aggregate and harmonize survey data involving questions about electricity. By merging data across time, countries, and studies, the final table in this project contains over 150,000 responses about household access to electricity.  

Archiving data that was collected years ago can be very time consuming for PIs because locating old datasets and survey instruments from past projects can be difficult.  Integrating data archiving as early as possible in the research pipeline seems more efficient: research assistants with detailed knowledge of the data, surveys, and sampling methodology can prepare well-documented, de-identified datasets while a study is still active, and upload the data on the portal with restricted access.  With granular access controls, datasets can even be safely stored on the Redivis portal without being made visible to any users, until the time that researchers decide they want to release their data to the public.

Ensuring that data collected from surveys and experiments — both from years past and particularly in the future — are easily accessible and properly documented will enable and inspire new, exciting research that would otherwise be very costly or impossible to perform.  Additionally, making raw datasets publicly available contributes to the transparency and integrity of the field, while also fostering and encouraging best practices in survey and experimental methodology.

If you have any questions or concerns about this initiative, or data that you would like to share, please reach out to Executive Director Jessica Leino at  We greatly appreciate your input and look forward to making progress in this venture.