COW Data Set Hosting: Standards


Data set hosts must agree to the following basic standards of data collection and data set management before agreeing to host a data set.

  1. Data collection procedures must be carefully documented, and actual data collection must follow these procedures.  Methods used in the prior data collection (where documentation identifies those procedures) and coding rules for the prior data set must be followed where possible to ensure cross-time reliability of the data.  Theoretical and substantive issues, including problems in coding particular cases, must be clearly noted in the documentation.
  2. Units of analysis must be maintained with the current version of the data set, or if changed to reflect better ways of structuring data sets, must be fully documented and old data converted to the new format.  The final data set structure in terms of unit of analysis (e.g. dyad-year, country-year, war, etc.) and file type (e.g. Excel, Access, or Stata files) will be determined by COWto ensure consistency with other data sets and common uses of the data.
  3. New variables will only be made available in new versions of data sets if coded for the entire set of states and years.
  4. Data sources must be clearly identified.  Documentation and/or the data set should contain information allowing identification of the source of each newly collected data point.  Archival material (e.g. copies of pages from source materials) will be given to the central COW office for permanent archiving.
  5. Each data set released will have a unique version number to maintain a chronological and developmental record of each data set.