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Aila is the data service portal of the Finnish Social Science Data Archive. The portal provides access for registered users to data archived at the FSD, according to the conditions set for each dataset. Access is free of charge. There are also open access datasets that can be downloaded without registration.

Users can conduct advanced searches to find and download data, after logging in to the Aila service. Aila supports Haka identity federation, which allows students and staff of Finnish universities, polytechnics and research institutions to register using the credentials provided by their institution. Registration is accepted immediately and users can browse and download data straight away.

People who do not have Haka credentials can apply for an Aila username through FSD User Services. Usernames are primarily issued to students and researchers from foreign universities as well as to staff members of those Finnish research organisations that do not belong to Haka federation. Registration rights are not granted for persons whose study or research is not attached to a university or a research institute. If the FSD User Services accepts the registration, a username and password will be sent to the applicant by email within a week.

Registered users must have a valid email address associated with their account. If users change their email address, they need to verify the new address. In order to do that, they have to click the link in an email sent to the new address. If needed, a new verification email can be requested on the profile page.

Online data download is available from the study description pages, one dataset at a time. Users need to fill in the access application form first, providing information on the purpose of data use, their research or study, and information on funders, if any. By downloading data from Aila, users accept and agree to the terms and conditions set out for the use of the downloaded data.

Terms and conditions vary from dataset to dataset. There are a number of datasets that are (A) freely available to all users. Most datasets are (B) available for research, teaching and study, while some are for (C) research only (including e.g. Master's, licentiate and doctoral theses). In some cases access requires (D) permission from the data depositor. Permission is requested through Aila.

Research here refers to work in which answers to research questions are sought through systematic analysis of data and application of the research methods of the field, and which is carried out in universities, research institutes or other equivalent organisations. Teaching in this context refers to courses in a university, university of applied sciences or equivalent organisation. Study refers to studies under the supervision of a teacher, lecturer etc. in a university, university of applied sciences or equivalent organisation.

Aila service is provided in two languages, Finnish and English. The study descriptions of archived datasets are provided both in Finnish and English. The FSD translates quantitative data into English on request, free of charge, for users who do not speak Finnish. Many are already translated. Qualitative data are available in their original language only.

The default language of service for registered users is the language selected during registration. Service language can be changed for the session from the language link in the upper right corner. The language of the data catalogue can also be changed any time from the dropdown menu above the catalogue. The same goes for the language of a study description, if other language versions of it are available.