When its co-founders first developed Collaboratory, they did so with the aspiration that a national dataset could be supported and made available for use by academic researchers to study the nature of community engagement and partnerships. Ten years later, that vision has become a reality.
Today Collaboratory data represent the largest coordinated national dataset on community engagement and public service activities occurring between higher education and its surrounding communities. 45 institutions have tracked more than 2,000 published activities encompassing 7,000 community partner relationships, 2,500 course sections, and 1,000 research connections.
The dataset includes descriptive characteristics (what, where, when, with whom, and to what end) of activities that are entered by faculty and staff or their representatives. It provides a highly relational view of the focus areas addressed, populations served, on- and off-campus collaborators, connections to teaching and research, and location information, among other data points.
In collaboration with the Civic Learning, Engagement, and Action Data Sharing (CivicLEADS) archive, Collaboratory has made a completely de-identified, limited open dataset available to the general public.
For scholars and practitioners who wish to access more detailed data from Collaboratory beyond what is openly available, we review individualized requests for data in collaboration with UNC Greensboro’s Institute for Community and Economic Engagement.
Our Data Sharing Initiative provides a framework for responsible data management and ensures proper handling of institutional data. We will continue to iterate on this process as we field requests.