Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


CESSDA-SaW Report Summary

Project ID: 674939
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CESSDA-SaW (Strengthening and widening the European infrastructure for social science data archives.)

Reporting period: 2015-08-01 to 2016-07-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

After CESSDA's successful launch we must now achieve full European coverage, and strength and sustainability for the widened network.

European coverage:
In each country the barriers to, and the potential value and benefits from, membership will be examined, and existing relevant infrastructure mapped. Bespoke coordination, networking activities, and stakeholder forums, all designed to address the specific barriers, will be delivered. In particular, relationships between national ministries, Research Councils, and the social science research community will be built. Relevant work in other completed initiatives (eg. SERSCIDA, DASISH, DwB) would be taken up and moved to the next stage of practical and direct support for achieving membership of the CESSDA Research Infrastructure. National opportunities for using European structural funds and other sources of support will be explored. The approach is to ensure the national and European economic and social benefits, and the positive returns on investment, that are achieved through membership of CESSDA are wholly apparent to the relevant national decision-makers.

Strength and sustainability:
The widened membership must form a strong and sustained network, where global best practice is built in to the infrastructure of European social science and research. Membership of CESSDA should mean membership of a world class support infrastructure. Links with practical benefits will be established with equivalent infrastructures in other continents. The benefits of coordinated collaboration and consultation with trans-national European stakeholders (for example, Eurostat, European Parliament, Consilium) will bring benefits to all national CESSDA Members. The visibility of this research infrastructure and its importance to excellent evidence in policy making will be enhanced. Further, existing national infrastructures must complete their transition into a holistic service, capable of access services for all.

The principal objective of the project is to develop the maturity of every national data archive service in Europe in a coherent and deliberate way towards the vision of a comprehensive, distributed and integrated social science data research infrastructure, facilitating access to social science data resources for researchers regardless of the location of either researcher or data. Furthering the development of social science data archive services is an express commitment of all CESSDA members. The commitment is to provide support to non-member countries to establish and develop their national infrastructures, and is set out in the CESSDA Statutes:
“Provide mentor support for CESSDA Observers and their representative Service Providers to achieve full Membership; Provide member support for countries with immature and fragile national infrastructures to help them build up needed competence later to be able to fulfil tasks as Members”
The tasks arising from this commitment are substantial. Not enough is known about the state of play in each of the non-Member countries. A framework for what support is to be provided, to whom, how, in what form, and when, is not established. The methods and materials for support are not prepared in such a way that makes delivery of them a simple operational matter.
In order to be effective in supporting countries with immature and fragile national infrastructures, the CESSDA members themselves need to be strong, and highly developed to an expert practitioner level. Hence it is not possible to separate entirely “widening” from “strengthening” because the former is dependent upon the latter.
The data sciences are undergoing rapid change, due to new data sources, new technologies, new standards, and changes in user expectations. Solutions to the challenges arising from change are to be found in equivalent infrastructures in other parts of the world, and in other infrastructures facing similar change (such as Official Statistics).

These issues give form to the following overarching objectives:
-to prepare a developmental model to use as a heuristic device to better understand the current state of play in national social science data archive services, enabling analysis of the need for support in each European Research Area (ERA) country against a common framework;
-to design packages of development support (including cost/benefit analysis, methodological knowledge, knowledge transfer on technical issues, and practitioner training), optimised to further the development of national infrastructures firstly to CESSDA membership, and then to a position of sustainable maturity;
-to further the strength of the CESSDA membership to ensure it is capable of providing support to others;
4. to undertake actions to further the global outreach of CESSDA, to both offer and to benefit from solutions to the challenges facing all data science infrastructures.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Overall goal of WP1 is to ensure daily administrative and financial management of the project. CO should coordinate partners' efforts and monitor work progress and achievement of project objectives against key indicators. CO should also ensure timely project reporting and ongoing communication with the EC. Milestone MS1 “Integrated project management and reporting tool delivered” was achieved in M3 as planned, although improvements of various templates are ongoing. First actions were presented at the Kick­-off meeting that was held on 21 October 2015 in Bergen, Norway. At this meeting members of Delivery Committee (all WP and task leaders) and Governance Council (representatives of all beneficiaries) were selected. The 2nd Consortium meeting was held on 24-25 February 2016 in Bergen.
In December 2015 the amendment procedure was initiated with the EC in order to address urgent issues that arose within the consortium. The amendment entered into force with the EC signature on 11 February 2016.
Tools for the delivery process were developed by the project coordination team. They consists of the deliverables and milestones templates, description of the internal reviewing process, instructions and timelines. Templates for collecting PM efforts by partner (beneficiary and LTP) and overall use of resources were shared with all project participants. The production timelines and assignments of the tasks in the review process for each deliverable are recorded into the Excel spreadsheet. All is available via the project Google Drive to the project partners.
The decision to add additional partners to the SaW consortium was adopted by all SaW bodies during the 2nd consortium coordination meeting in Bergen. Following partners will be added to the CESSDA SaW consortium: SOHDA-BASS from Belgium as a Linked Third Party to the CESSDA AS, RODA, Romania and UniData, Italy as beneficiaries. Amendment request is currently on hold waiting for RODA to resolve administrative issue concerning appointment of LEAR.

The objective of task 2.1 is to conceptualise and build a “Knowledge-Sharing Platform”: a place on the web where digital CESSDA resources such as reports, presentations, training materials, and other open access publications can be made accessible to the CESSDA community. The work on the platform is carried out in three phases: 1) identify stakeholder demands (MS2.3, D2.1); 2) develop platform policies and strategies (D2.2); 3) build and test the platform and begin ingest of content (MS2.4, MS3, D2.7). Phase 1 was completed with the Knowledge-Sharing Platform Forum Report (D2.1), summarising results of the Virtual Stakeholder’s Forum, an online survey carried out among CESSDA SaW members to learn more about their needs and demands concerning the content and functionality of the knowledge-sharing platform as well as the resources routinely created in their respective organisations. Work on the Platform Content and Management Policy (D2.2), focusing on the development of platform functionality and content as well as the long-term strategy for maintaining the platform has also started. In the course of this work, the following work is currently being carried out: Topic 1: Development of Platform Functionality (partly completed); Topic 2: Development of Platform Content (ongoing); Topic 3: Maintaining the Platform Post-Project (ongoing).
Internal communication was ensured by using the online management tool website Basecamp. Nine different working folders were created on Basecamp to facilitate internal communication for each work-Package as well as each project committee. All members of the CESSDA SaW Project have an access to Basecamp. The particularity of the CESSDA SaW Project being to strengthen and widen an already existing network, CESSDA. The CESSDA dissemination network have been used for outside communication and dissemination of project results. This was ensured by the use of each beneficiary and linked third party networks. A webpage was created on the CESSDA Website, an independent project website was created, a leaflet was also created for the project, and finally the 1st Newsletter was released in Month 12 of the project duration.
The objective of task 2.3 is to coordinate the organisation of four workshops and a final dissemination event bringing together partners from WP3 and WP4. The 1st workshop, entitled “Training on Trust, Identifying Demand & Networking”, took place on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 of June 2016 in Den Haag, The Netherlands. While the main goal of WS1 was to train technical staff of CESSDA Service Providers and to assist them in obtaining the Data Seal of Approval (DSA) certification, other topics were broached (covering areas promoting partnerships, prospecting sustainability opportunities through support services, and testing a cost/benefit advocacy programme). The target audience originally restricted to technical staff from SPs was broadened, bringing together data management and domain experts, as well as business people. The overall attendance from almost all SPs in addition to aspiring countries demonstrates that this first step was successful in bringing in new members, while strengthening the skills of current SPs. Deliverable D2.3 “Stakeholder workshop report one” was delivered in the first reporting period. It reports on the first workshop held in The Hague in respect with the organisational process behind the setup of this workshop as well as the outcomes of this preparation, and outline of all sessions during 2 days.

The first deliverable D3.1 Heuristic maturity development model, or Capability Development Model (CDM), has been delivered and approved by the EC. The CESSDA-CDM is also put into practical use as a baseline for developing the WP3.2 survey and data collection instrument and WP3.3 ‘Guide for national planning for setting up or upgrading existing data services, due to be delivered in M18.
A lot of work has already been invested into developing the model as well as the audit instrument which covers WP3 T2, T3 and T4 needs and in addition the WP4 and WP5 information needs. T3 has developed CESSDA SAW Procedures for contacting SP, ministries, academies of science, research councils and other stakeholders in member and nonmember countries and a contact list defining the scope of the inquiry (countries) as well as persons/institutions to be contacted. T4 has spent some time narrowing the scope of inquiry, it’s main focus being to assess if, how and why not CESSDA SP are prepared to support future research need for data and to develop a roadmap based on best practices to support CESSDA and CESSDA SP to widen the scope of their data as. This task will communicate WP6 New Forms of Data - Legal, ethical and quality matters, in the SERISS project which is funded under EU H2020 to prevent duplication of work and ensure synergies. WP6 task 3 main focus is to ensure that new forms data are sharable and usable though for long-term preservation and curation. Thus strengthening existing social science research infrastructures (the CESSDA archives) as regards the variety and volume of data to be stored, processed and offered to users is the objective in SERISS as well.
WP3 partners have been involved across the various tasks providing feedback to first versions of the CESSDA -CDM model, the data collection instrument both online and in face to face meetings on skype and in person in Bucharest, Ljubljana and in Bergen on several occasions.

The survey has been tested and improved based on the feedback from WP3 partners. The result is a comprehensive data/information collection instrument which integrates information gathered with three methods – desk research, self-assessment, and semi-structured expert interviews. Guidelines on data collection has been prepared that includes the selection and the communication protocol, interview guide and instructions about how to use the instrument. The planning of the survey design was documented with the objectives and description of each thematic chapter to be used further in a reporting. A glossary of terms and preliminary literature review was included.

In order to foster the dissemination of knowledge, two webinars were held in June 2016 (MS10 and MS11). These webinars were prepared and conducted by ADP, DANS, GESIS and NSD from March to June 2016. DANS and GESIS were jointly responsible for the organisation of the webinars, ADP (webinar 1) and NSD (webinar 2) were responsible for the content. The first webinar (Access Policies and Usage Regulations: Licenses) was held on 30 June 2016; the second one (Research Data Management Community Training) took place at 23 June 2016. Both webinars were archived and made available for future use via the CESSDA-SaW website ( Once the Knowledge Sharing Platform (developed in WP2) is in place, the webinars will be removed and stored there for long-term availability.
Workshop on Trust, Identifying Demand & Networking, which took place at The Hague on June 16th and June 17th 2016, was hosted and organised by DANS. It aimed mainly to assist the technical staff of Service Providers (SP) in obtaining the Data Seal of Approval (DSA) certification. Other topics, addressed during the event, cover areas promoting partnerships with CESSDA non-member countries’ archives, prospecting sustainability opportunities through support services, and testing a cost/benefit advocacy program. The complete report on the workshop (D2.3), is available online (‘‘Workshop to bring the demand information together’ formed part of the joint workshop on Trust, Identifying Demand & Networking, which took place at The Hague on June 17th 2016. At this workshop we identified 2 categories of development support namely, long-term regular, or continuous, support services governed by service level agreements such as data backup or a software help desk, and discrete actions or events such as consultancy, training or software development. Moreover four pilot areas to pursue were agreed: data backup service between service providers (confirmed partnership), CESSDA compliant metadata publishing server service, Dataverse as a service, and expert consultancy (on DSA). ""Collaborative workshop on establishing partnerships between CESSDA and service providers” (WS1) was postponed from January to June 2016 and was held as part of the CESSDA SaW workshop in The Hague. Three session were organised. The audience of this meeting was staff of the Service Providers outside the CESSDA network. The aim of the sessions was to start to develop the network of collaboration, and to collect information related to formal mechanisms of collaboration within this wider CESSDA network (MS24). The second aim was to identify stakeholders and strategies for the main goal – successful integration in CESSDA or finding other possibilities to build a close collaboration with the CESSDA. DANS lead the development and delivery of the MS21 workshop and all task partners were involved in the workshop. Work-plans for pilots have been created and initial work is underway by FSD, CSDA, TARKI, DANS. Planning, preparatory work and desk-based research has been undertaken for the financial and sustainability models by DANS, FSD, CNRS and FORS. Management & communications in the task is undertaken primarily through monthly teleconference calls and the basecamp website.

From June 2016, ADP, DANS, GESIS and NSD have started to work on the two tutorials (Elements of the Ingest Workflow (MS12) and Elements of the Dissemination Workflow (MS13)). GESIS have provided a concept draft, which is currently under discussion. The partners have started researching relevant training materials on the topics to assess the current state of the art in this area and to identify respective training needs. The two tutorial will be completed by the end of October.
Based upon the Reference Model for an Open Archival Information System (OAIS), the Audit and Certification of Trustworthy Digital Repositories, and the Data Seal of Approval, a first draft of the template, or model, for policy articulation has been developed. A step-by-step introduction leaflet on ‘How to prepare a Service Provider policy will be developed in the following months, along with a further refinement of the policy model. The model has mainly been developed by task leader NSD, with input and feedback from other partners.
CESSDA Trust support group was established in February 2016. The task group functions as an Advisory Body concerning the CESSDA Obligations as stipulated in the Annex 2 and, moreover, in all matters regarding certification. One of the tasks of the group is to report on Annex 2 obligations: how CESSDA SP’s can fulfil these and how these are related to the DSA/WDS requirements. The group will function as a Certification Watch as the group will liaise with the boards of the certification initiatives (DSA, WDS, DIN/NESTOR, and ISO).

The survey to gather and validate user requirements completed by participants from 24 European countries. Drafting and testing of the toolkit with an overall content outline and templates prepared, a Return on Investment factsheet drafted, and case studies commenced with interviews with UKDA and ESRC staff. The toolkit is currently on track to be in draft by the end of October 2016. The case studies and focus groups have commenced and are due to be completed by end of April 2017. A first case study on use of the ESDS economic impact study has been drafted and is currently in review with UKDA and ESRC interviewees. Further case studies are in discussion with Estonia, Finland, Lithuania, and Slovenia. Nine focus groups have been held: with social science data archive staff in Estonia, Finland, Lithuania and Slovenia; and their key stakeholders (senior staff from universities, government ministries, research councils and academies, research users and depositors). These proved very effective both in obtaining feedback on the proposed toolkit but also in terms of advocacy with key stakeholders. A focus group was also held as part of the CESSDA SaW workshop in June 2016 in The Hague to staff from all the project partners.

Objectives of this Work Package are to benchmark CESSDA against a leading inter-institutional consortium of data archives, to initiate a permanent forum for knowledge and information exchange, and to explore and seek support for an international curriculum for professional development of practitioners in social science data services. Work performed in P1 of the SaW project comprised of current and ongoing work with assessment questionnaire based on D3.1 Maturity Model to benchmark CESSDA and ICPSR as the golden standard in the field, and produce a gap analysis in the coming months. Desk research of international community and contacts to be part of the international forum in progress."

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

As stated in the DoA of the CESSDA SaW project, there are two overarching impacts expected: to enable the infrastructure to maximise the value and reputation of its individual members’ existing skills and capacity in order to facilitate expansion of the infrastructure through the development of new data services across the ERA, and to strengthen and promote CESSDA’s role as an internationally renowned social science data infrastructure. The work planned for this project will strengthen the hub and support the development of national data services in preparation for CESSDA membership. The complete package of work will assist CESSDA in this second phase of its development and assist in the transition to full maturity. In P1 of the SaW project, activities corresponded to the planned impact to the widened CESSDA network, even being formally established during the Workshop 1 in June 2016.
The activities set out in work packages 3 and 4 include engagement with relevant stakeholders in a widened and strengthened infrastructure. Activities engaging ministries and national funding agencies that have not yet committed support for a national data service remain to be realised in P2 as part of WP2/3/4 tasks aiming at high level representatives of EC and non-member countries’ (Member States and Associated Countries) aiming at CESSDA membership.

A significant progress is noted with the trusted repositories’ certification within WP4 adding to the promotion of high in data management and exchange. At the same time, efforts in WP2 and WP4 offering virtual training courses (webinars) and related activities that transfer the knowledge and skills required to manage and sustain data services contributed towards the establishment of the base for the transformation of the user experience of social science data across the ERA, which is the knowledge sharing platform and its ongoing construction that will be carried over to P2.

Organisation of workshops and meetings in P1 has proven to be invaluable in terms of bringing together data producers and the potential hosts of new data services. In particular, separate tasks meetings and ongoing activities within the consortium brought together staff from data services at different points on the development continuum and initiated knowledge exchange between both established members and between established and potential new members, thus contributing directly towards fostering capacity building and Research Infrastructure human capital development in relevant regions.

CESSDA is in the process of developing two innovative tools expected to maintain its international profile as a leader in data service development: the heuristic model (already developed) and the cost/benefit advocacy programmes (ongoing development), both developed during the lifetime of the project as a means to support the strengthening of existing data services and development of new data services.

The overarching expected impact of the project remains to establish a seamless data archive service for the whole ERA, where all relevant data are available to all researchers through a common user experience. In order to achieve it, CESSDA needs to release the capability found in the current CESSDA membership to:
i) transfer their knowledge to others,
ii) establish the development path needed to establish national data archive services, and
iii) begin building the pan-European products and services that will deliver the CESSDA Vision.

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