Monitoring European Public Opinion in the Fourth Decade
35th Anniversary of Eurobarometer
The 35th Anniversary of Eurobarometer was officially celebrated during the international Eurobarometer Conference 2008 at the renowned SciencePo in Paris on November 21-22.
Each participant received a copy of the first Eurobarometer report - originally a hectographed pile of paper. Eurobarometer 1 (April-May 1974) was to be the only Eurobarometer survey of which primary data was not secured for later use. Long before "open access" became the best practice with publicly funded research data, Eurobarometers were made available to secondary analysis. The credit belongs to European Commission and Jacques-René Rabier, the "father" of the longest-running regularly conducted international comparative survey.
In Paris, the now 89-year-old Rabier was the guest of honor. He described Eurobarometer as "his seventh child" and regretted only that despite the Eurobarometer having thrived, some important time series have been neglected. As an example he mentioned the "trust in people from other countries" question that has not been asked since 1997.
CESSDA joins in congratulating Mr. Rabier and Eurobarometer. For more than thirty years, the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) and GESIS (formerly ZA, Central Archive for Empirical Social Research) have ensured the long-term preservation of the primary data and together with CESSDA archives provided researchers and lecturers efficient access to the data. Eurobarometers continue to be, despite strong competition from purely scientific European surveys like ESS and EVS, among the most heavily used surveys.
(Text and photo: Meinhard Moschner, GESIS)