WP 3 – Strengthening and widening through planning and engagement




The overall objective of WP3 is to deliver a state of play evaluation of social science data archives and services in EEA countries, identifying gaps and bottlenecks in existing services, and produce national development plans to close the gaps and overcome present barriers. The present situation will be described and analysed against a development model that specifies the minimum requirements for establishing and operating CESSDA services for the social sciences and provides a common framework for evaluation of compliance.

The outputs will be:

• a common development model and tool that can be used by national actors to identify gaps between the needs for robust and trustworthy services and the actual services offered, and to provide the explanation and support needed to establish and develop the national social science data archive infrastructure.

• a report describing and analysing (benchmarking) existing social science research data services across CESSDA Member and non-Member countries against the development model, identifying weaknesses and strengths and areas of development, including national development plans for aspiring CESSDA Members. A report discussing the state of data offered by the various national services and providing a guidance and support on how to widen their data perimeter.

Description of work and role of partners


Task 3.1 – To produce and promulgate a development model for describing the status of the data infrastructure in the social sciences at the national level (Lead partner: DANS; Partner: NSD)

Based on benchmark frameworks, standards for trusted digital repositories and best practices, this task will develop a data service model that will work as a tool for setting up new trustworthy long-term data repository services. Output from the FP7 DASISH project will be used. The model will also be used as a framework for mapping existing and emerging repositories against the minimum requirements prescribed by the model. The table below will serve as a starting point for selecting or formulating the appropriate model.

Task 3.2 – Audit of current status of data archive services in each ERA country
(Lead partner: ADP; Partners: NSD, UKDA, GESIS, SND, FFZG, DANS, IES, FORS, DDA, SU SAV, LiDA and CSDA)

The aim of this task will be to conduct an extensive auditing of the state of the art data services, based on the criteria developed in T3.1. The assessed data services will be benchmarked against the target level of an ideal mature CESSDA Service Provider (SP). The development dimensions as defined in T3.1 will thus be operationalised and measured. Additional information needed to identify the required support within each dimension will be compiled from WP4 together with already existing country case studies and country assessment reports from the previous projects, such as CESSDA PPP, SERSCIDA, “CESSDA Trust Project” 2013- 14, DASISH, and Data without Boundaries.

The results of T3.2 will constitute a gap analysis and an up-to-date point of departure for consultation on both the policy level and data service level, the aim being to negotiate steps to be taken (development plans) to close the gaps and meet the requirements of a mature CESSDA SP. The aim is also to identify and describe promising candidate services (pioneer) and existing service proto-activities within countries that have poor or no research data infrastructure that in the future may be given the responsibility of becoming a CESSDA SP. It will also be the opportunity to discover the current data perimeter available at a national level, and to put this into perspective with the outcomes of WT3.4 regarding, notably, current and future users’ needs.

As far as data archiving (proto-) activities are concerned, a mixed method design will be used to collect specified information about data producers and data users, combining survey questionnaire (via a web survey), an analysis of existing documents, and holding interviews. The potential for development will be evaluated by analysing the data sharing culture, addressing needs and demands for data for secondary analysis, current RDM practice and services, awareness of open data principles, and readiness as well as obstacles for supplying open access data. As a follow-up, a self-assessment template will be distributed among CESSDA members, countries aspiring for membership that have already developed research data infrastructure (former CESSDA members), and countries with proto-archives such as Associated with document Ref. Ares(2015)3138820 – 27/07/2015 Page 20 of 46 Croatia and Serbia (both set up following SERSCIDA). If necessary, subsequent interviewing will be conducted for any required clarifications.

The possibility of organising a workshop as defined under WP2 (WT2.3) will be explored and potentially used for collecting additional information. Existing DSA self-assessment reports and results from the survey and interviews conducted by the DASISH project will be used as a secondary source of information. Furthermore, a mapping of plans for future CESSDA membership will be conducted among ministries.

Task 3.3 – National development plans for data services in the ERA
(Lead partner: FORS; Partners: NSD, UKDA, FFZG, IES, ICS-ULISBOA and CESSDA AS)

Based on the gap analysis made in T3.2 and, if possible, in collaboration with ministries/research councils and possible future CESSDA Service Providers, individual national development plans will be drawn up for aspiring CESSDA SPs. Such plans will include mission statements, policy and procedure documents, a governance structure, a description of areas of competence and infrastructure that need to be strengthened, as well as a description of future needs and necessary resources for setting up and maintaining viable data services. The plans will also include timelines for future development to which all involved partners will/ should commit themselves. The output of this second task of 3.3 will be published national development plans for data services in non-CESSDA member countries in the ERA. Beyond these full documents, abbreviated versions of the national development plans in the form of 2- 3 page “media packs” will be generated, with the support of the CESSDA communications officer. The packs will be short and concise summaries of the plans that can be used to attract media attention, a key way to highlight for ministries/research councils the public interest in national data services. In addition to the abbreviated development plans, each media pack will include a cover message that describes the benefits of social science data services for the scientific community and the larger public. To begin with, a template for the national development plans will be prepared in the form of a guide, and published in electronic format on the CESSDA website. This will be complemented by a shorter executive summary, both electronically and in hard copy, to be used by ministries/research councils and future CESSDA Service Providers.

The guide will include key options, decision points, aspects of capacity building (e.g., training, technical infrastructure, staffing and resources), as well as how to build and organise data services within a wider scientific, policy, and legal landscape. Output from the FP7 SERSCIDA and DASISH project will be used. The guide will also include a “model” example, based on minimum requirements for establishing and operating data services for the social sciences. In addition to the online guide, a 1-2 page executive summary sheet will be created based on the guide, which will be used to bring the attention of relevant stakeholders to the key issues in development planning. The executive summary and a strategy for its diffusion will be designed in cooperation with the CESSDA communications officer. Hard copies of the executive summary can be distributed at meetings with stakeholders, and targeted email communications can include the summary, as well as a link to the CESSDA website for the full guide.

T3.3 will also assist ministries/research councils and future CESSDA Service Providers in developing plans for data services in their countries. Representatives for CESSDA Service Providers participating in this task will serve as facilitators of this process, advising country teams in the design and formulation of their plans. In countries where research authorities do not want to be involved, but where data service infrastructures exist that could be potential future CESSDA SPs, the plans will be prepared by them before being presented to the ministries/research councils. In countries where neither of these conditions apply, participating T3.3 CESSDA SPs will identify institutional partners (one institution per country) that are both capable and willing to host new data services, and will work with them to complete the plans. The output will be published national development plans for data services in non-CESSDA member countries in the ERA. Beyond these full documents, a short and concise “media pack” will be designed with the support of CESSDA communications staff and then distributed to attract media attention. This “media pack” is seen as a key way to highlight to ministries/research councils the advantages of having national data services. In addition to the abbreviated development plans, each media pack will include a cover message that describes the benefits of social science data services for the scientific community and the larger public.

Task 3.4 – Strengthening and widening through expanding the data perimeter
(Lead partner: CNRS; Partner: ADP, CSDA, EKKE , ICS-ULISBOA, UKDA and SND)

The objective of the task will be to support the data services to widen their data perimeter. Data Archives generally start with a few datasets from individual researchers and there is a long way to go before general agreements are established and then supported by a national policy. The task will review the state of play regarding the diversity and the amount of sources covered and it will identify the obstacles encountered in the different domains. Experiences, best practices and different paths for progress will be discussed with the objective of providing practical roadmaps. Specific attention will be devoted to official micro data (including administrative data) where Data without Boundaries (DwB) Associated with document Ref. Ares(2015)3138820 – 27/07/2015 Page 21 of 46 has demonstrated that there are different paths for building more cooperation with the National Statistical Institutes and other government agencies. The widening of CESSDA needs also to address new data sources and new actors. In the current context, social science archives face a situation where other data providers are emerging in different domains such as qualitative data, historical data, health data (now on the top of the government agendas) and of course big data.

The task will:

• Survey the current state of play of data archiving services taking into consideration national context (e.g. amount of data available, other data providers, etc.) as well as current and future researchers’ needs. Specific attention will be devoted to the existence of general agreements and national policies, as well as identifying the gaps between the existing available resources and future needs. This survey task will be closely linked to the audit task carried out under WT3.2.

• Provide examples and best practice cases in the different domains highlighting the specific issues of each domain (academia, official statistics, health data, qualitative data, historical data, web data, big data); a series of workshops could be organised with the amibition of bridging the gap between the different stakeholders at country/regional/European levels and discussing the different models and paths for development in collaboration with WP2 (task 2.3);

• Assist the countries in their aim to widen their data perimeter concretely according to their maturity level in the domain to build agreements taking into consideration the national context;

• Involve the funding agencies and the research councils in discussions regarding systematic data policies CNRS will lead with all partners contributing, CSDA and ICSULISBOA particularly focusing on the academia domain, UL-ADP and CNRS on the official micro data, UKDA, SND and CNRS on health data and big data, EKKE and ICSULISBOA on qualitative data and historical data.