CESSDA plans for stronger collaboration

News: 2012-05-08

Efforts to strengthen the cooperation between European data archives were in focus at the CESSDA general assembly meeting in Gothenburg. The organization also welcomed a new member: Lithuanian Data Archive for Social Science and Humanities (LiDA).

CESSDA (Council of European Social Science Data Archives) is an umbrella organization for more than 20 European data archives. Since the 1970s, CESSDA has been working to improve access to research data. Through CESSDA’s member archives, researchers and students have access to more than 25 000 data collections. CESSDA's data catalogue makes it possible to search for data from twelve European archives.

In 2012, intensified efforts are being made for CESSDA to become a so-called ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium). The EU Commission determines whether an international organization may be an ERIC or not. By joining such a consortium, cooperation between data archives is facilitated since this membership will provide a common regulatory framework that is recognized by all EU member states. Hopefully, such a framework will simplify and accelerate researchers' access to data across national borders.

- The general assembly meeting was very constructive, the best we have had in ten years I would say. There was a good spirit for the work with ERIC and we decided to launch a project with self-evaluation of all the member archives, says Hans Jørgen Marker, president of CESSDA and director of SND.

Through self-evaluation, CESSDA will get more information about which members that meet the requirements for data archives and which members that may need advice and support on various parts of the activities.

- Currently, there are some differences. Some of the archives are well functioning since a long time, others are in the establishing phase and need support through knowledge sharing and other joint activities, says Hans Jørgen Marker.

In September, the first workshop to establish a standard for self-evaluation is held. In October, there is an additional workshop to decide how the process will proceed. It is hoped that all archives should have completed their self-evaluations at the beginning of next year.

At the meeting in Gothenburg, the general assembly also elected a board for the next two years. Hans Jørgen Marker at SND remains president. Sami Borg from FSD in Finland is vice president and Adrian Dusa from RODA in Romania is secretary. The fourth member of the board is Peter Doorn from DANS in the Netherlands.