The Social Science Research Council’s Digital Culture program is issuing a call to our networks, fellows, and the scholarly community in general for personal stories of government data use. Government data, from the census itself to more subject-specific datasets—housing data, environmental data, CDC research—is the backbone of much important social science research. The goal of these pieces is to highlight the importance of those datasets and illuminate the huge impact their loss would have on advancing knowledge and social science research.

These pieces would be informal and brief, no more than 500–700 words. The series will be introduced with an essay by former director of the United States Census and former SSRC president Kenneth Prewitt, and will include pieces from internal SSRC programs as well as researchers from every stage of the academic career path. We want to emphasize the value these datasets have to everyone, from rising stars in the academic community to professors emeriti who have built their work on this foundation. The aim is to tell stories about our data, our research practice, and the ways they intertwine.

For inquiries or to submit a story, contact us at