I'm a PhD-student in economics and I'm planning a scientific paper on a certain topic. For this purpose I need access to data from an economic database. There exist several companies, which provide the desired datasets in their databases. But the problem is that my university has no access to any of these databases. It is also possible to buy certain datasets there individually, but my research budget is far from sufficient to buy this data.

So I would like to ask if there is a possibility to get such data on another way?

I had already considered whether it makes sense to write this article with a researcher from another university that has access to one of these databases. The disadvantage in this case is that the name of the other researcher stands on my paper without having made any significant contribution.

Furthermore I thought about doing a short research stay at a foreign university, which has access to a database. However, this is hardly feasible under the current global circumstances.

Unfortunately, my PhD-supervisor also has no answer to my problem.

I would be very happy if someone in a similar situation has found a solution and can tell me about it. I would like to ask not only specifically in the field of economics but in general. It may be that the solution can be transferred from another area to mine.

  • 1
    Have you considered just asking them for access to support your research? It is a long-shot, of course. Even asking for a discount that is within your research budget. It might help if your advisor has sufficient credibility.
    – Buffy
    Apr 14, 2020 at 15:20
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    I don't think this comes into consideration, since I am their customer and want to buy their data
    – TobKel
    Apr 14, 2020 at 16:00
  • It might depend on the data and on your research. Having it done might actually benefit them, depending. You may not be a typical "customer". But the "libraries" answer of Raghu Parthasarathy might work if you haven't already tried that.
    – Buffy
    Apr 14, 2020 at 16:02

1 Answer 1


I would ask your university librarians -- they tend to be resourceful and under-used! At least for journals to which the university does not subscribe, there are typically ways to request single articles, often through inter-library consortia. I wouldn't be surprised if similar things exist for brief access to databases.

  • This is why your university has librarians. If your institution is large enough, it probably has a specialist digital librarian.
    – Jeff
    Apr 14, 2020 at 15:48
  • That's a good idea. I have not yet heard of such an "exchange" for databases, but I will ask.
    – TobKel
    Apr 14, 2020 at 16:12
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    And your librarian may be able to advise on guest membership of another university's library, that then gives you access to their database subscription. Or your librarian may be able to suggest access to another dataset that is usable for your purposes (such as a different industry, different country, or a smaller but freely-available dataset). Or you might be able to rent access to the data for a short period enabling you to do your research, but not buying permanent access to it.
    – Owain
    Apr 14, 2020 at 18:50

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