WP 5 – Strengthening and widening through global engagement




• To benchmark CESSDA against a leading inter-institutional consortium of data archives
• To initiate a permanent forum for knowledge and information exchange
• Explore and seek support for an international curriculum for professional development of practitioners in social science data services.

Description of work and role of partners


Task 5.1 – Benchmarking CESSDA against a leading inter-institutional consortium of data archives (Lead partner: CESSDA AS; Partner: SND)
This task will be led by CESSDA AS (3 PM) with support from SND (1 PM).

The first Task is to benchmark, using the development model, in order to produce a comparative report. Benchmarking requires a set of indicators to serve as the basis for a comparison between the organisation and an “industry best” or “gold standard” organisation. The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) has been suggested as a benchmark for CESSDA, and whether explicitly mentioned in the application or not, ICPSR is taken as the gold standard in the description below.

5.1.1 Establish benchmark indicators As a first step towards benchmarking, relevant indicators need to be determined. Consortium-level indicators will be derived from the development model created in T3.1/D3.1. Adaptation will be required as said model is meant as a heuristic tool for developing individual data archives rather than evaluating a consortium. Other indicators, relevant to the organisational aspects of the consortium, will also be developed, including technical indicators not covered in the development model. The indicators, along with instructions on how performance of the member archives can be combined to provide consortium-level values, will constitute a milestone (MS5.1).

5.1.2 Building on T5.1.1, the indicators will be used to assess performance of CESSDA as well as ICPSR, and a comparative report will be written. The audit of the CESSDA member archives (T3.2) will provide a basis for CESSDA’s performance, along with organisational and technical indicators established in MS5.1. Although comparison between quantitative measures is easier to carry out, qualitative indicators should be in focus as they will probably be of greater interest. The report (D5.1) will also contain an analysis of differences, and a breakdown of what actions can be taken to bring CESSDA up to the level of the gold standard.

Task 5.2 – Platform for knowledge exchange to develop human and technical capital (Lead partner: CESSDA AS; Partner: SND)
This task will be led by CESSDA AS with 2 PM, with support from SND with 1 PM.

The second task is to build on the knowledge sharing activities in WP2 in order to establish a permanent and mutually beneficial international forum for the development of human and technical capacity in the area of research data repositories.

Task 5.3 – Towards an international curriculum and professional qualifications in digital data services for the social sciences (Lead partner: GESIS; Partners: CESSDA AS, SND)
This task will be led by GESIS with 6 PM, with support from CESSDA AS with 2 PM and SND with 3 PM.

The third task is to explore the value of, and appetite for, an internationally recognised and moderated professional qualification in digital data services for the social sciences. Such a curriculum will promote a common academic basis for state of the art data curation and ensure the global outreach of the acquired knowledge within CESSDA archives. Professionals interested in data curation will have the opportunity to intensively study data curation throughout the data life cycle and practice in a hands-on environment (through the CESSDA member archives), before moving on to sharing their knowledge in their own countries and institutions. Data curation is a multidisciplinary operation tapping on the knowledge of several sciences such as computer science, social science, law, philosophy and ethics, and management.

Until now there is no internationally recognised curriculum for data curation but instead it is treated as part of librarian studies, which is not an accurate representation of the professional skills required. Such a curriculum would provide a common academic basis for state of the art data curation and ensure excellent education for members of staff of existing and future data archives. This task will structure and draft a curriculum on data curation for the whole data life cycle, which will also include stage placements for hands-on training in CESSDA member archives. Additionally this task will solidify the collaboration initiatives of WP2 with several European universities interested in hosting such a professional qualification with the goal of setting it up by the end of the project. WP5 will benefit from the dissemination and promotion done in WP2. The development of such a curriculum would be beneficial to the global outreach of acquired knowledge within CESSDA member archives. It will be a useful means of constant training of not only the next generations of data curators in countries where data archives exists, but also a mechanism to provide highly educated staff for newly established archives or for archives of the future. The graduates of the programme will move on to sharing their knowledge in their own countries and institutions. There are ever more options available for the delivery of learning, and of content, many of which now have global reach and low costs of delivery and participation. The value of a common curriculum and moderation is the professional development of staff involved in data services. Recruitment and exchange of staff across international boundaries is assisted when C.V.s reference a shared curriculum of knowledge and learning.

This task will explore existing good practice in digital data service curriculums in equivalent infrastructures internationally. It will then establish the appetite in the leadership of those infrastructures for a common professional development curriculum and qualification. If there is found to be an appetite, it will explore the preferred methods of building a curriculum, delivering the content and learning, moderating the professional knowledge and skills developed through the curriculum, and how to acknowledge and value the professional development and status arising from participation in the curriculum. Engagement with relevant universities across Europe will then be initiated in order to explore the potential for cooperation for the establishment of the professional qualification programme. If proved feasible, a communications campaign to promote the new academic course and attract potential students will be launched before the end of the project. Finally, and depending on the outcomes of the previous inquiries, a report will be published with recommendations for the establishment of a curriculum and associated learning methods (or otherwise).