Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives

Work Plan 2015

The scope of the 2015 Work Plan is the allocation of work to Service Providers contracted in 2015. Five submitted projects were selected for funding and they are listed below. All of these, except for the CESSDA Expert Seminar 2015, are still currently running and the CESSDA Metadata Management project will continue to run beyond 2016.

CESSDA Technical Framework phase 1

This project is led by UKDS and involves four additional partners within CESSDA (NSD, GESIS, SND and DANS).

The ambition of this project is to promote good software development practice across the Service Provider community, in respect of the provision of CESSDA products and services. Furthermore, it will ensure that the source code for every product is centrally available, so that all Service Providers can access it, thus increasing the options for maintaining and extending the various products, whilst protecting CESSDA’s investment in the production of the given products. The publication of basic standards for source code quality will ensure Service Providers know what is expected of them.

Without an intentional technical architecture, there is a high likelihood that the user experience of the CESSDA Research Infrastructure by its target community will be suboptimal in many ways.

The combination of the development infrastructure (including the automated build and test facility) and the technical architecture will help establish a development maturity level for both the CESSDA Research Infrastructure and the individual Service Providers. Future work plans can contain actions specifically targeted on raising this maturity level, which will in turn reduce maintenance and development costs, whilst improving the experience of the CESSDA Research Infrastructure’s user community.



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Open Source Metadata Harvester

This project is led by NSD and brings in four additional partners within CESSDA (UKDS, DDA, SND and FSD).

The ambition of this project is to produce an easy to use metadata harvesting service that has a plugin architecture for inputs and outputs, so that a wide range of metadata sources can be harvested, and data in a variety of metadata standards (including the Metadata Management Standard defined by the Metadata Management task) can be emitted. As this component is intended to provide metadata feeds for various clients (such as the CESSDA Product and Service Catalogue, the Secure Access Portal and others yet to be specified), it will be provided with Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) so that it can be remotely executed on demand. This provides the required loose coupling, as the core implementation can evolve without affecting the clients (providing the API signatures are retained).

It will be administered using existing Open Source tools, in order to reduce development and ongoing maintenance costs (compared to building a bespoke administration User Interface).

The benefits to the CESSDA RI are that by providing the metadata harvester as a service means that it is distributed (available to all) and borderless (location-independent) and authorised clients at any location can use it. Also the Open Source approach enables extensibility and maintainability, with both Service Providers and others able to enhance the core and create new plugins. Take a look at the presentation from EDDI2015 to find out more.


NSD (lead), DDA, FSD, SND, UKDS.

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CESSDA Data Access Policy

This project is led by the UK Data Service and involves all current (1 July 2015) Service Providers.

Both the existing CESSDA Statutes and the proposed Statutes for the CESSDA ERIC require CESSDA to have a Data Access Policy. The CESSDA Data Access Policy will be one of the foundational operation documents for the consortium and a highly significant statement of intent for CESSDA as it should demonstrate the consortium’s commitment to both open science and to the fullest protection of the privacy of subjects and the rights of the data owners.

The key ambition for the project is to provide a unified policy framework for CESSDA’s data and metadata access policies. The policy framework will reference internationally recognised protocols, standards, and license conditions.

This policy framework will be able to be used and implemented by all CESSDA Service Providers, thus it will be distributed. It will also provide input into a series of other CESSDA products and services which are in the process of being commissioned, thus it will be integrated and, with the exception of some probable local variation, the statement will be able to be implemented to ensure that it is borderless.


UKDS (lead), all Service Providers.

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CESSDA Expert Seminar 2015

The CESSDA Expert Seminar 2015 was organised by DANS in The Hague, The Netherlands, in cooperation with FSD, GESIS and UKDS.

The aim of this seminar was twofold: creating awareness and knowledge of trust issues in general, and exchanging and developing ideas on unresolved trust issues (non-DSA Annex 2 obligations, CESSDA Trust Working Group).

Work has been going on in this field within CESSDA for a number of years. Two Trust Workshops were held in 2013, in Bergen and Cologne. Since then a number of CESSDA Service Providers have reached DSA certification.

This seminar was targeted at CESSDA Service Providers’ staff members both early in their career as well as those who have experience in this field. The topic of the seminar was trust and sharing the challenges experienced and the knowledge acquired so far with staff members starting to work on this in the existing or in the aspiring Service Providers. Accomplishing DSA certification is already a challenge itself, but for CESSDA there are more challenges ahead, in particular how to implement parts of the Annex 2 obligations of the CESSDA Statutes that are not covered by DSA certification.

A clear outcome from the discussions was that it would be helpful to offer mutual guidance on the matter. Subsequently, in December 2015, four CESSDA Working Groups were adopted, one of which focuses on trust issues, the CESSDA Trust Support Group. The work will also be continued in the CESSDA SaW project. Read more about the CESSDA Expert Seminar 2015 here.


Hosted by DANS.

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CESSDA Metadata Management phase 1

This project is led by the FSD and includes seven additional partners within CESSDA (ADP, CASD, DDA, GESIS, NSD, SND, and UKDS).

The objective is to develop a standardised metadata design and practice for CESSDA. The outcome will be a Metadata Standards Portfolio that will support resource discovery and question banks. The Portfolio will include a core metadata model and controlled vocabularies for relevant metadata fields. It will be standards-based and cover study-level metadata and variable/question-level metadata, as well as support multilingual searches and data discovery thus reflecting the needs of both Service Providers and researchers. The Portfolio will enable Service Providers to retain independence yet interact in an integrated service.

This project will deliver a Phase 1 product, and identify the areas where further work is needed (suggested Phase 2). The Portfolio Version 1 will cover the most urgent needs; first and foremost it will support building of the Product and Service Catalogue and the Euro Question Bank. The Portfolio will be compliant with the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) international standard for describing statistical and social science data. The Portfolio will include controlled vocabularies (CVs) and whenever possible, existing CVs will be used. If needed, new multilingual CVs will be developed in collaboration with relevant external initiatives (for example, the DDI Controlled Vocabularies Group CVG).

The use of the Portfolio will not be limited only to CESSDA or the social sciences; it will support the description of data from other disciplines, for example, humanities and health sciences. It will also be extensible so that it can be adapted to changing functional requirements over time. Take a look at the presentation from EDDI2015 to find out more.



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