Research commonplace

Commonplace books (or commonplaces) were a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. Such books were essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind. This commonplace includes datasets, research resources, stats, econometric methods, libraries in R and python, and the like. Because I work in tech policy, there is a strong leaning towards tech, innovation and telecom in the legal and legislative research section.


  • The FactFinder is dead :( . Explore Census data instead.
  • Business Dynamics Statistics – BDS provides annual measures of business dynamics (such as job creation and destruction, establishment births and deaths, and firm startups and shutdowns) for the economy and aggregated by establishment and firm characteristics.
  • IPUMS – IPUMS provides census and survey data from around the world integrated across time and space. IPUMS integration and documentation makes it easy to study change, conduct comparative research, merge information across data types, and analyze individuals within family and community contexts.
  • Eurostat – Eurostat is the statistical office of the European Union.
  • Nonemployer statistics – NES is an annual series that provides subnational economic data for businesses that have no paid employees and are subject to federal income tax. This series includes the number of businesses and total receipts by industry.
  • – The home of the U.S. Government’s open data.
  • Economic Census – The economic census serves as the foundation for the measurement of U.S. businesses, including the Island Areas, and their economic impact.
  • A complete list of the Census' economic surveys – The U.S. Census Bureau business surveys and censuses measure the pulse of the U.S. economy, businesses, and governments. They provide data for businesses in the economic sectors such as manufacturing, construction, retail trade, health care, and services industries, as well as for state and local governments, and on imports and exports.
  • Computer and Internet Use – In recent decades, computer usage and Internet access has become increasingly important for gathering information, looking for jobs, and participation in a changing world economy. See also: The NTIA’s Digital Nation Data Explorer include raw data for the Internet and Computer Use Survey
  • Code Lists, Definitions, and Accuracy – View the detailed codes and definitions for variables, statistical testing, and an explanation of sample design, methodology, and accuracy for the American Community Survey.
  • Surveys & Programs – The U.S. Census Bureau conducts more than 130 surveys and programs each year. This is a list of all of them.
  • BEA : Regional Economic Accounts: Download – GDP per state data
  • O*NET OnLine – ONET contains hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors on almost 1,000 occupations covering the entire U.S. economy. The database, which is available to the public at no cost, is continually updated from input by a broad range of workers in each occupation.
  • NORC at U of Chicago – NORC experts conduct research in a wide range of subjects, bringing insight to topics including education, economics, global development, health, and public affairs. NORC is a solid alternative to Census and BLS surveys.
  • USA Spending – is the official source for spending data for the U.S. Government.
  • Correlates of State Policy | IPPSR – The Correlates of State Policy Project aims to compile, disseminate, and encourage the use of data relevant to U.S. state policy research, tracking policy differences across the 50 states and changes over time. We have gathered more than 900 variables from various sources and assembled them into one large, useful dataset. We hope this project will become a “one-stop shop” for academics, policy analysts, students, and researchers looking for variables germane to the study of state policies and politics. R package Shiny App
  • Data USA – Maintained by Deloitte and Datawheel, DataUSA has a lot of databases. I use this site to grab data about cities and states.
  • Awesome Public Datasets This list of topic-centric public data sources in high quality. They are collected and tidied from blogs, answers, and user responses. Most of the data sets listed below are free, however, some are not. Other amazingly awesome lists can be found in sindresorhus’s awesome list.
  • Damodaran’s finacial datasets | industry cap ex, risk premiums, etc – Aswath Damodaran is the GOAT: “Since I teach valuation and corporate finance, I am constantly collecting and analyzing data, and I have found that the data, once analyzed, can be used multiple times. Since I already have the processed data, I could not see any harm from sharing that data with others, thus saving us all some collective time, which we can spend far more productively not just on valuation but also with family and friends.”
  • Archived News Releases : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – Self explanatory.
  • asdfree – An archive of the analyze survey data for free website, that provides step-by-step instructions to analyze major public-use survey data sets from the website that’s easy to type
  • Cool Datasets – As they used to say, “A place to find cool datasets.” From
  • Vertical Farming - [link]
  • Twitterstream from Archive. A simple collection of JSON grabbed from the general twitter stream, for the purposes of research, history, testing and memory. This is the “Spritzer” version, the most light and shallow of Twitter grabs. Unfortunately, we do not currently have access to the Sprinkler or Garden Hose versions of the stream. [Archive]
  • Key telecom datasets
  • The California Forest Observatory is a data-driven forest monitoring system that maps wildfire hazard drivers across California, including forest structure, weather, topography, and infrastructure.
  • OpenStreetMap provides a broad range of map data maintained by a worldwide community of geographers and cartographers.
  • The Registry of Open Data on AWS has empowered laboratories, research institutions, and various other organizations to deliver open datasets to developers, startups, and enterprises worldwide since its launch in 2018.
  • Nasa Earth Observations offer climate and environmental data for the globe. You can browse and download the satellite data from NASA’s constellation of Earth Observing System satellites. Over 50 different global datasets are represented with daily, weekly, and monthly images available in various formats.
  • A Google BigQuery public dataset is any dataset made available to the general public through the Google Cloud Public Dataset Program.
  • Koordinates is an emerging geospatial data management platform where you can host, manage, share, publish, and access geodata.
  • Natural Earth is a collection of public domain map datasets available in vector or raster formats and various scales.
  • Safegraph offers some open census data and neighborhood demographics.
  • The Canadian government has its own Open Data Portal.
  • An open dataset of electric vehicles and their specs.
  • A list of construction indices.

General research

Data science tools and resources


Stats and econometrics

Economic modeling, R and python packages