CESSDA – Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives

CESSDA is a European research infrastructure consortium (ERIC) with some 20 European data archives that work together to improve access to social science research data. SND has been appointed by the Swedish Research Council to represent Sweden in this collaboration.


CESSDA logotype

What is CESSDA?

CESSDA has a mission to provide a full-scale, sustainable research infrastructure that enables the research community to conduct high-quality research in the social sciences, regardless of where the researchers or data are located. The goal is to create a consortium of certified trusted data repositories with full European coverage. CESSDA is part of the creation of EOSC (the European Open Science Cloud), and actively supports the implementation of the FAIR data principles. The CESSDA strategy rests on four pillars: Trust, Training, Technology, and Tools & Services.

The CESSDA organisation was established in 1976, and for more than 40 years it served as an informal umbrella organisation for European national social science data archives. Since June 2013, CESSDA has had its current form, for the first four years as a Norwegian limited liability company, and since 2017 as an ERIC, a European Research Infrastructure Consortium. CESSDA was recognised as a landmark in the ESFRI Roadmap 2018.

CESSDA is currently composed of some 20 European member countries. It is owned and funded by the members, and each member state appoints their own Service Provider (SP). CESSDA also collaborates with a network of partners, including several other European countries, some of whom will join the infrastructure in the near future. The CESSDA work is coordinated from the Main Office in Bergen, Norway.

A large share of the CESSDA operations are based on the decentralised services that are provided by the member countries’ Service Providers (SP). For each of the four strategic areas – Trust, Training, Technology, and Tools & Services – there is a working group that runs a number of projects where SPs collaborate to build and develop the infrastructure. These projects are established in the CESSDA annual work plan.

The role of SND in CESSDA

The Swedish Research Council has appointed SND as the Swedish SP for CESSDA. As an SP, SND is active in many of the CESSDA areas, and at present involved in the work with certification of repositories, a guide to data archiving, the creation of a common technological platform, and in support and advice to aspiring and new CESSDA members. Previous involvement has been in, for instance, the work with persistent identifiers and the development of a common metadata profile for CESSDA. SND is also responsible for the Swedish language translations of the multilingual ELSST thesaurus and the common controlled vocabularies in CESSDA.

As an SP, SND also takes part in larger projects. At present, SND is a member of the SSHOC – Social Sciences & Humanities Open Cloud cluster project. Some examples of previous projects are CESSDA SaW, SERSCIDA, DASISH, DwB, and CESSDA PPP.

Benefits to the research community

The Swedish membership in CESSDA provides Swedish researchers and students access to well-documented European research data, expert knowledge, and training resources in many fields.

The CESSDA tools and services include:

CESSDA Data Catalogue – A catalogue of the social science data that are accessible through the CESSDA SPs. The catalog contains, at present, over 20,000 studies, described with standardised metadata and with direct links to the relevant SP, where you can download or order the data.

CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide – A guide to help social science researchers to manage data throughout the research process, and to make the data and metadata FAIR.

CESSDA Training – CESSDA Training offers continuous webinars, workshops and more to provide information and training in the latest news in research data management.

You can see more resources that are available or soon to be implemented under Tools & Services. The tools are described under the various roles that a user may have: Data User, Data Producer, Service Provider, or Member.


Further reading