The Value and Impact of the Archaeology Data Service: Final Report

The final report of the coequally known ‘ADS IMPACT project’, reported upon previously in this blog, is now available to download from the Jisc website. 

The Value and Impact of the Archaeology Data Service (ADS): a study and methods for enhancing sustainability was commissioned by Jisc as part of a larger study into the the value and impact of three data centres (ADS, BADC and ESDS). These assessments were undertake by Neil Beagrie of Charles Beagrie Ltd and Professor John Houghton of the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES) and a synthesis report will be available from Jisc in the near future.


The Impact of the Archaeology Data Service study aimed to explore and attempted to measure the value and impact of the ADS. A range of economic approaches were used to analyses data gathered through online surveys, and user and depositor statistics, to supplement and extend other non-economic perceptions of value.

The study reveals the benefits of integrating qualitative approaches exploring user perceptions and non-economic dimensions of value with quantitative economic approaches to measuring the value and impacts of research data services. Such a mix of methods is important in capturing and presenting the full range and dimensions of value. The approaches are complementary and mutually reinforcing, with stakeholder perceptions matching the economic findings. For example, both qualitative and quantitative analysis highlights the important contribution of ADS data and services to research efficiency.

The measurable economic benefits of the ADS substantially exceed its operational costs. A very significant increase in research efficiency was reported by users as a result of their using ADS data and services, estimated to be worth at least £13 million per annum 5 times the costs of operation, data deposit and use.

The value of the increase in return on investment in data  resulting from the additional use facilitated by the ADS was estimated to be between £2.4 million and £9.7 million over thirty years in net present value from one-year’s investment – effectively a 2-fold to 8-fold return on investment in the ADS.

£1 cost provides up to £8.30 return

The study has changed stakeholder perceptions, increasing recognition of the value of the ADS and digital archiving and data sharing generally. Most stakeholders already valued ADS highly, but felt the study had extended their understanding of the scope of that value, and the degree of its value to other stakeholders. They were positive about seeing value expressed in economic terms, as this was something they had not previously considered or seen presented.

The report is available for download as a PDF file at: http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/5509/1/ADSReport_final.pdf

About Jisc

Jisc offers digital services for UK education and research. The charity does this to achieve its vision for the UK to be the most digitally advanced education and research nation in the world. Working together across the higher education, further education and skills sectors, Jisc provides trusted advice and support, reduces sector costs across shared network, digital content, IT services and procurement negotiations, ensuring the sector stays ahead of the game with research and development for the future.

Find out more at www.jisc.ac.uk or contact the press team on press@jisc.ac.uk