CESSDA SaW Kick-Off Meeting – Bergen

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Bjørn Henrichsen, Chair of the Board of Directors of CESSDA, kicked-off the meeting presented the history of CESSDA, evolving from an informal network in 1976 to CESSDA AS being set up as a legal entity in 2013 and the main office opening in 2014, as well as its vision, objectives and presence in ESFRI. He pointed out that the key benefit of CESSDA is “to maximise the ability of social sciences, humanities and other research fields to access data resources necessary to conduct high quality research, teaching and learning, irrespective of the location of either the individual or data”.

Ivana Ilijasic Versic, Acting Administrative Manager of CESSDA, then went on to present the first work package (WP) of the project “project management and administration”, the main project goals, European coverage and strength and sustainability, as well as the project’s governance council and the delivery committee and their members.

Next, the project partners heard about WP2 “dissemination and communication” from Eleanor Smith, Senior Communication Officer at CESSDA, starting with a reminder of the overall ambition of the project, and the moving on to the concrete goals of the WP, establishing a knowledge-sharing platform for ERA data archives, a communication hub and website, as well as dissemination events and stakeholder workshops, and finally linking to communication activities in WP3 and WP5.

Vigdis Kvalheim, Deputy Director of NSD, explained that the overall objective of WP3 “Strengthening and widening through planning and engagement” was to deliver a state of play evaluation of social science data archives and services, and produce national development plans to close the gaps and overcome present barriers. Furthermore, a development model will specify the minimum requirements for establishing and operating CESSDA services for the social sciences, providing a common framework for evaluation of compliance. She also informed that countries will be assisted in widening their data perimeter.

“Strengthening and widening through knowledge exchange” (WP4) was presented by Marion Wittenberg, Project Manager at DANS, with the first task presented being a rolling programme of hands-on training for data archive practitioners on ingest and dissemination practices, trust (Data Seal of Approval), and standards integration, whose aim is to investigate different quality levels of data archives. Another task of this WP is to develop the administrative, technical, and methodological support needed to establish and develop trustworthy data archives, and finally also to establish the conditions for creating new or reinforcing existing social science data services.

Jessica Trixa, Scientific Associate at GESIS, then presented the three objectives of WP5 “Strengthening and widening through global engagement”, to benchmark CESSDA against a leading inter-institutional consortium of data archives, establish a platform for knowledge exchange to develop human and technical capital, and finally work towards an international curriculum and professional qualifications in digital data services for the social sciences.
Lastly, an explanation of the financial and reporting aspects of the project was issued highlighting both the responsibilities of the project coordinator and those of the beneficiaries. Project partners were informed that the online platform Basecamp would be used for its internal communications.