The Program became an IISP subdivision in April 2002. Before that (starting from September 2000) the pilot project of the Russian Sociological Data Archive was implemented within the Russian Center for Public Opinion and Market Research (VCIOM), directed at that time by Yuri Levada.
In September 2000, the Russian Center for Public Opinion and Market Research, with support from the Ford Foundation, launched a project aimed at the creation of a national archive of sociological data. The need for such an open access archive appeared long ago: this information is necessary for experienced scholars and students, for mass-media and research organizations. A democratic society is impossible without firsthand, reliable information about most burning issues of social life, as it would allow the scholar to understand the important process of social transformation better and explain it to the public.
Leading research organizations joined the project. By the moment, more than 600 surveys from salient sociological institutions have been collected. The Archive opens its collections for academic research to non-for-profit organizations, research collectives, and individual researches free of charge.