With a view to promoting quantitative research on contemporary China, the Universities Service Centre of China Studies decided in
1995 to start collecting machine-readable data. There are a number of hurdles to
overcome in the process. First of all, it is pioneering to make electronic data
in China available to public use. Secondly, it is almost impossible to convince
people there of the idea of data archiving and data-sharing for academic purpose,
as information is sometimes regarded as intelligence, power or commercial goods.
Finally, we succeeded in establishing several frameworks of academic cooperation
in data development; but when the data arrived, we had to spend considerable man-hours
to perform quality control. Frustrations often ensued as errors could not be corrected
for one reason or another. We only hope that as quantitative research skills and
professional attitudes improve, the quality of data will also be enhanced. The USC-Databank
for China Studies can also make a humble contribution towards the rise in standard.
We are committed to collaborative efforts to enable data-sharing for academic study.
We wish to thank Prof. Tom Lyons who was the first scholar to have gracefully deposited
the datasets on Economic Geography of Fujian of the"Cornell East Asia Series"
in our holdings. We hereby appeal to individuals and institutions to follow his
step. Only with your generous support, we may be able to better serve the global
academic community with more quality datasets at lower costs.