The European Social Survey (ESS ) has three main objectives firstly to produce rigorous trend data at a national and European level about people s social, political and moral values in the context of Europe s changing institutions; to remedy longstanding deficiencies in methods of cross-national social measurement, particularly in respect of public attitudes and to bring social indicators into closer focus as a means of monitoring the quality of life across European nations. ESS data and supporting documentation are freely and swiftly available to all and have already attracted over 13,000 registered users.
Many books and journal articles arising from the ESS have already appeared; many more are in preparation. Now starting its fourth biennial Round, the ESS is a pioneering example of the principles and practices behind the European Research Area, with funding from both the EC and over 20 Research Councils. We now seek to consolidate the achievements to date and prepare the project for its transition into an upgraded and sustainable Infrastructure. Although always envisaged as a time series, the future of the ESS has remained uncertain owing to a lack of sustained funding.