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Strengthening and widening the European infrastructure for social science data archives.

Strengthening and widening the European infrastructure for social science data archives.

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A new social science data archive service for Europe

The EU-funded CESSDA SAW project is supporting Europe’s next generation of social scientists via a seamless social science data archive service.


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To better coordinate the diverse research happening across the European Research Area (ERA), the EU-funded CESSDA SaW project established a seamless social science data archive service. The result is a service capable of supporting the research needs of the next generation of social scientists regardless of where in Europe, or beyond, they are located. “The project has successfully initiated the transformation of the user experience of social science data in the ERA, with more and more evidence and insight being made available to those tackling social and economic issues of Europe,” says project coordinator Ivana Ilijasic Versic. The project accomplished this by bringing together 25 partners from across Europe and focusing on fostering knowledge exchange between current, future and aspiring data service providers. By offering the necessary administrative, technical and methodological support, the project promoted the establishment of new data archives while also strengthening existing ones. Strengthening the hub To strengthen and promote CESSDA’s role as an internationally renowned social science data infrastructure, the project performed a range of work aimed at strengthening the hub and supporting the development of national data services in preparation for CESSDA membership. For example, the ‘Country Report on Development Potential’, a comprehensive overview mapping the current state of play of data archive services in 44 mainly European countries, represents a key result for policy development and benchmarking. “For countries without any infrastructure, we set up a Guide for National Planning for Setting Up New Data Services, which provides information on developing social science research data policy and how to establish a national data service provider,” explains Ilijasic Versic. The project also developed important input for CESSDA’s Quality Assessment model, serving as a quality check on its service providers. This model also helps national actors identify gaps between the need for efficient and trustworthy services and the actual services offered. For service providers, a Knowledge Exchange platform was developed and is now up and running on the project’s intranet. In addition, several training modules on archiving, data curation and infrastructure design have also been made available. “We enjoyed the meetings and workshops where policy officers, service provider staff and high officials from the European Commission and ministries met and cooperated,” says Ilijasic Versic. “As a result, CESSDA is now a stronger and renowned social science data infrastructure.” Unlocking CESSDA’s potential According to Ilijasic Versic, the CESSDA SaW project was a success and accomplished what it set out to achieve. “The project succeeded in unlocking the capability of the current CESSDA membership to transfer knowledge to others, established the development path needed to build the national data archive services, and supported the development of the pan-European products and services that will ultimately deliver the CESSDA vision,” she says. “By engaging national ministries and other funding bodies, we have positioned ourselves as one of the major players in the research infrastructure arena.” Even though the project is now officially closed, the project continues to hold its SAW meetings with established and new service providers and with countries that are interested in setting up a social science data infrastructure. In fact, most recently, Hungary, Slovakia and Portugal have joined CESSDA, and more countries are in the pipeline for obtaining membership.


CESSDA SAW, social sciences, data, European Research Area, European Union, EU

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 674939


Closed project

  • Start date

    1 August 2015

  • End date

    31 October 2017

Funded under:


  • Overall budget:

    € 2 552 343,46

  • EU contribution

    € 2 498 187

Coordinated by:


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