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PREPARATORY PHASE PROJECT FOR A MAJOR UPGRADE OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPEAN SOCIAL SCIENCE DATA ARCHIVES (CESSDA) RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE

PREPARATORY PHASE PROJECT FOR A MAJOR UPGRADE OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPEAN SOCIAL SCIENCE DATA ARCHIVES (CESSDA) RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE

Periodic Report Summary - CESSDA-PPP (PREPARATORY PHASE PROJECT FOR A MAJOR UPGRADE OF THE COUNCIL OF EUROPEAN SOCIAL SCIENCE DATA ARCHIVES (CESSDA) RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE)

In 2006, CESSDA was identified in the ESFRI roadmap as a strategically important European research infrastructure that needed to be upgraded and enhanced. In 2008, EC funding of EUR 2.7 million was made available to prepare the organisation for this upgrade. The CESSDA Preparatory Phase Project (PPP) partnership included 17 of 20 CESSDA members and ran from January 2008 to July 2010.

The strategic goal of the project was to plan for the transformation of CESSDA from an informally managed group of disparate data archives into a broader, more inclusive data infrastructure for social sciences and humanities (SSH), with legal status.

The new organisation will not be a data archive but will fulfil central tasks to build, develop and sustain a fully-functioning European data infrastructure. Data management, distribution and user support will continue to be undertaken nationally via a network of resource providers such as those of the existing CESSDA membership.

Approach

Much of the project work focussed on known weaknesses in the existing organisation. Different approaches were taken depending on whether the issues under consideration are considered to be internal (i.e. related to the existing membership) or external (i.e. relating to gaps in membership and/or in the data collections currently available to researchers). For internal issues, an organisational-wide survey was undertaken to assess the resource and skills gaps within the existing membership. For some topics, (e.g. the assessment of metadata standards and work required for the development of new tools), subject experts were consulted. The results were then collated and assessed to determine what improvements will be necessary for all existing CESSDA members to participate fully in the reconstructed infrastructure.

For external issues, the approach was to identify and establish direct contact with external organisations that could fill the gaps that were identified. Consequently, a series of fact-finding meetings was set up between the co-ordinator, national funders and representatives of non-CESSDA archives in Eastern Europe and the Balkans, to determine their interest in joining the infrastructure, the maturity of existing national services and the extent to which additional national funding will be necessary to enable the inclusion of these states.

Presentations took place to introduce a number of important data producers to the plans for the enhanced Infrastructure, including to National Statistical Institutes (NSI's) via Eurostat; agents acting on behalf of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO's) such as the World Bank and OECD, and DG Research. A conference to address the lack of availability of European qualitative material also took place.

On completion of the information collection phase of the project, teams collated and analysed the results, summarising the current state of the CESSDA and identifying and prioritising those activities that the new organisation must plan for and oversee in order to create a truly European data infrastructure.

Team reports documented activity and made recommendations which were coordinated and collated into a series of documents including conditions of membership, set out in statutes, and business and financial plans, for the next phase of the infrastructure's development.

A series of topic related reports and proofs of concept software have also been delivered. Reports are available from the project website.

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 212214

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 January 2008

  • End date

    30 June 2010

Funded under:

FP7-INFRASTRUCTURES

  • Overall budget:

    € 4 164 974,28

  • EU contribution

    € 2 675 250,94

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX

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