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Roper Center Marks 75th Year

January 03, 2022

In 1947, the first punchcards from Elmo Roper’s polls were deposited at Williams College, establishing the first social science data archive in the world. Seventy-five years later, the Roper Center is commemorating its diamond anniversary as the world’s premier collection of public opinion data. Over the course of 2022, Roper Center will mark this milestone with a special anniversary logo, jewels from the archive, and new surprises for our community.

It is only fitting that the archive should exuberantly celebrate its diamond anniversary, because like that prized stone, Roper Center is:

  • Treasured - The collection is a rich mine of invaluable data for understanding public opinion and its important role in society. Our data have enabled the work of countless researchers for the betterment of both survey research and broader society. 
  • Enduring - Seventy-five years is a long time. The years have brought many changes, from an expanded data collection to rapid technological developments, each increasing the Roper Center’s influence and continued innovation in support of its mission. In 2015, Roper moved from the University of Connecticut, its second institutional home, to its current home at Cornell University. Here, Roper continues to build its community, which includes Cornell student employees, fellows, and faculty affiliates, as well as our users and member institutions, staff, data providers, Board of Directors, and the winners of our Mitofsky Award for distinguished contributions to public opinion research or practice. In 2022, we will launch a Roper Ambassador program to deepen ties within our user community.
  • Transparent - Polling has endured and thrived because of continual improvements to survey research made possible by the field’s longstanding commitment to transparency. As the primary channel for data sharing among public opinion survey researchers, Roper plays a unique role in cultivating transparency and disclosure. The Roper Center Transparency Project, which closely follows the standards of AAPOR, gives users the clarity they need to evaluate surveys and ensures this information is preserved for future researchers.

Naturally, our collection is filled with gems. Over the coming year, we’ll be shining a light on some of the most precious items in our vault, including a cache of hidden treasures. We’ll also have some gifts to help our supporters celebrate with us, including custom shirts, stickers, magnets, and Pioneers of Polling playing cards.

Thank you for seventy-five brilliant, sparkling years!

Jonathon Schuldt
Roper Center Interim Director