Frequently Asked Questions

Research Online is an online portal providing access to reports and articles which are useful to those researching specific labour market topics and those interested in gaining a better understanding of the Scottish labour market.

Why was Research Online built?

Research Online was developed to provide wider access to relevant and up-to-date labour market intelligence. This is in support of evidence-based policy making in the Scottish labour market. Market research suggested that whilst much useful labour market research and analysis is undertaken within Scotland by a large range of organisations, there was no single dissemination source.

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When was it launched?

Research Online was launched at the end of 2003, though it contains a small amount of older material.

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Who runs it?

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) now manages the Research Online service. Research Online is a key element of SDS' approach to being a catalyst for positive change.

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How much does it cost to access?

Access to Research Online is free.

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How do I access it?

Research Online is available through the Skills Development Scotland website - - or at

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Do I need training to use it?

Research Online has been tested across a range of users to ensure that it is as simple to use as possible. There are simple and advanced search options including the option to browse by subject. Guidance on how to use the Research Online database is available here.

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Where does the material come from?

There are a number of sources, including academic journals, government departments and agencies, labour market research centres and material sent in directly by key organisations in Scotland and the wider UK. The available material includes grey literature, government policy and up-to-date academic research. Over 100 websites and a wide range of journals are regularly reviewed for suitable content.

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What format is the material published in?

Most items are in Adobe Acrobat® Portable Document Format (PDF) or Microsoft® Word formats.

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Who decides what material will appear on the site?

Idox Information Solutions manages the content of Research Online on behalf of Skills Development Scotland. Idox refers to guidance given by SDS when deciding whether or not to publish an item onto Research Online.

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How often is the material updated?

The material available is continually updated with new reports and research; at least twice every month.

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Is the material limited in coverage to Scotland?

No. Reports from further afield are included, where these provide insights relevant to those interested in the Scottish labour market, such as new analysis techniques, identification of good practice and discussion of wider UK labour market issues.

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What level of access to the material is provided?

The availability of Research Online's material varies according to copyright restrictions. We make material available for download or provide a link where we are allowed to do so. Research Online contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v2.0.

Format Availability Purpose
Abstract only All material on Research Online has been abstracted to indicate the scope and nature of that specific report or article. Details of where to source a full copy of the item are also included. Raises awareness of reports. Full copy of the item is not freely available online.
Abstract and weblink In addition to the abstract and source details, a link to an external website provides online access to a full copy of the report or article. Provides online access to a full copy of the item. Although these links are regularly checked, Skills Development Scotland cannot guarantee that these links will always work.
Abstract and full-text The material is available to freely download in its entirety from Research Online. Provides online access to a full copy of the item.

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How do I get copies of material which is available as abstract only?

For items that are available in abstract only, details of the source (publisher) of the item are clearly identified. Users should contact the source directly to obtain a copy of the relevant item. In some cases, sources may have provided details of their material in abstract only (Format 1) as they wish to charge for a full copy of the item.

Almost all the material on Research Online is available in full-text to members of the Idox Information Service. They can instantly download most journal articles and order hard copy items from the customer area of the Idox Information Service website:

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How do I contribute material to Research Online?

See the 'Contributing to Research Online' page.

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How do I join the mailing list to keep up to date with new labour market intelligence?

A Research Online account enables you to sign-up for a range of current awareness alerts that keep you up to date on a variety of labour market topics.

You can register for a free account using the online registration form.

Registered users can change their account details and preferences through the My Research Online area.

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