Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives

Annual Report 2015

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Table of Contents



CESSDA featured in the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) Roadmaps of 2006 and 2008 as well as being listed as one of the ESFRI Success Stories under “Research Infrastructures in the implementation phase” in the Strategy Report on Research Infrastructures Roadmap 2010. In 2014, CESSDA was categorised as an already “implemented” project in Prioritisation of Support to ESFRI Projects for Implementation under “Social and Cultural Innovation Strategy Working Group”.

CESSDA was fully established as a permanent legal entity known as CESSDA AS in June 2013 and had its official launch in Bergen, Norway on 5 December 2013. CESSDA AS is a Norwegian limited liability company solely owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, and functions as the legal vehicle for the consortium. It is based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ministry and each of the members. The consortium is organised as a distributed infrastructure where each member, represented by a national research authority, has a designated Service Provider (SP) that meets specific demands and requirements specified in the Statutes.

As of today fifteen European countries (Ministries) are members of CESSDA AS, with one Observer (see CESSDA Members). During the course of 2015, two countries joined the CESSDA network, Greece in June, later confirmed as the 14th member during the 5th CESSDA General Assembly (GA) meeting on 19 June 2015, and Belgium, which signed the Memorandum of Understanding on 10 November 2015.1

The vision of CESSDA, as stated in its statutes, is the following: to provide a full scale sustainable research infrastructure that enables the research community to conduct high-quality research which in turn leads to effective solutions to the major challenges facing society today.

The intention since its launch has been to progress rapidly to the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) status.

CESSDA Strategic Plan

The purpose of the Strategic Plan is to form a bridge between the vision and objectives in the CESSDA (to be CESSDA ERIC) Statutes, and the annual work plan and budget decisions of the General Assembly.

The Strategic Plan should be outwards facing, informing the European Commission, ESFRI, data providers, researchers, and the users of social science results about the strategic objectives and goals of CESSDA over the next period, and what outputs in terms of products and services are expected to be delivered.

CESSDA is expected to become CESSDA ERIC in the course of 2016 or early 2017 and the Strategic Plan 2017-2021 will cover the first five years of operation under this new legal status.

1. Belgium will be confirmed as a new member by the GA early 2016.


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Organisation & Governance


Main Office

The Main Office (MO) of CESSDA is located at Parkveien 20, in Bergen, Norway.
In 2015 there were four employees in the Main Office:

Paul Jackson
Managing Director
(until 31 July 2015)

Ivana Ilijašić Veršić
Acting Administrative Manager
(from 1 August 2015)

Nina Bakanova
Administrative Secretary

Eleanor Smith
Senior Communications Officer

Service Providers in 2015

Austria, a new Service Provider will be announced in the near future.
Czech Republic, Czech Social Science Data Archive (ČSDA)
Denmark, Danish Data Archive (DDA)
Finland, Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD)
France, PROGEDO Research Infrastructure
Germany, GESIS – Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences
Greece, Greek Research Infrastructure for the Social Sciences (So.Da.Net)
Lithuania, Lithuanian Data Archive for Humanities and Social Sciences (LiDA)
The Netherlands, Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)
Norway, NSD – Norwegian Centre for Research Data
Slovenia, Slovenian Social Science Data Archives (ADP)
Sweden, Swedish National Data Service (SND)
Switzerland, Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences (FORS)
United Kingdom, UK Data Service (UKDS)

Read more about CESSDA Members


CESSDA is governed by a General Assembly, a Board of Directors and managed by a Managing Director. Additionally, CESSDA is provided with two advisory bodies: the Scientific Advisory Board and the Service Providers’ Forum, as well as four Working Groups.

General Assembly

The General Assembly (GA) is the ultimate authority of CESSDA setting the budget and the funding formula for the consortium. It consists of Ministry/Research Council representatives from each member country. It also has the responsibility of adopting strategic plans, audit reports as well as the reports from the Board of Directors and the Managing Director. In 2015, the General Assembly met on 14 January and on 15 June.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is responsible for implementing the strategies adopted by the GA and for executing the set budget. Furthermore, it is responsible for the financial planning and preparation of the yearly budget, and for the development of CESSDA’s strategy and vision, to be adopted by the GA. In 2015, the Board of Directors had five meetings: in March, May, June, September and in December.

Service Providers' Forum

According to the CESSDA Statutes, it is mandatory for each CESSDA member country to assign their Service Provider (data archive). The Service Providers’ Forum is the working body of CESSDA. It consists of representatives of every Service Provider and serves as an advisory body to the Managing Director and to the Board of Directors. Regular meetings are held twice a year, once in a member country and once in the host country (Norway). In 2015 Service Providers’ Forum meetings were held on 21 April in Bergen, Norway, and on 11 November in Bucharest, Romania.

Scientific Advisory Board

The Members of the Scientific Advisory Board were appointed in 2014 and their regular meetings are held once a year. The Scientific Advisory Board offers its support in developing a CESSDA Scientific Strategy, deliverables over the same period and the CESSDA Strategic Plan. It advises to focus on new data sources, and new access methods, in particular ‘borderless’ data assets such as big data and remote access to such sources. In 2015, the Scientific Advisory Board had a video conference via Skype on 12 May and met in Bergen on 10 December in a joint meeting with the CESSDA Board of Directors.


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International Cooperation

CESSDA’s members can be found across the whole of Europe and therefore all of its activities are de facto international. However, CESSDA is also involved in a number of joint projects with external international partners.

Specific Tasks Allocated to the German Service Provider

Annex 6 of the current CESSDA Statutes allocates specific tasks to the German Service Provider. One of the tasks, training, has been judged to be a permanent CESSDA activity with its own branding, CESSDA Training. It has been allocated a yearly budget cycle and a dedicated section on the CESSDA website. The rest of the tasks, namely PID services, Harmonisation, and Question Databank offer an annual activity and budgetary report. In 2015, the German Service Provider, GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, conducted a series of activities based on the 2015 Work Plan. Activities in 2015 included:

Public Relations

In order to enable efficient work, CESSDA Training together with the Main Office (MO) created content for the CESSDA Training section of the new CESSDA website, launched in June 2015. The website now contains information and resources on digital preservation and research data management for the research and archiving community. These materials will be regularly updated to include more topics and new trends in the practice of data curation. CESSDA Training also conceptualised and prepared the implementation of a knowledge-sharing platform that will collect all relevant work of CESSDA Service Providers on Digital Preservation and Research Data Management. The implementation will be carried out through the CESSDA SaW project.

CESSDA Training contributed to the promotion of CESSDA by attending various conferences and meetings e.g. IASSIST 2015 in Minneapolis, USA, the DINI/nestor Workshop 2015 in Berlin, Germany, and the DPASSH conference 2015 in Dublin, Ireland and by redesigning the CESSDA Training Blog which features activities and relevant events in the context of research data management and digital preservation.


In order to better understand the CESSDA community and its needs, the CESSDA Census was initiated and questionnaires were developed, designed and internally pre-tested for the heads of the CESSDA member archives as well as for the members of staff involved in CESSDA activities. The first Census is planned to be carried out in 2016.


CESSDA Training held two face-to-face trainings and one workshop at GESIS Cologne for staff members of institutions non-affiliated to CESSDA and to CESSDA's user community. As a part of the FOSTER-CESSDA project, CESSDA Training successfully cooperated with other workshop providers within CESSDA, and improved its own workshop materials. All training materials will be uploaded to the knowledge-sharing platform, once it is established.

Coding and Harmonisation of Statistics (CharmStats) in CESSDA.

“Data harmonisation” refers to the process of transforming data from different sources into standard measures that facilitate undertaking research involving the comparison of sources. The future CESSDA ERIC should foster the use of free and open source software that directly stores and connects all the components of data harmonisation work, in particular ex-post data harmonisation. CharmStats – an abbreviation for ‘Coding and Harmonisation of Statistics’ – products are a digital solution to the problems of combining multiple types of metadata and information that are needed for harmonisation documentation. The improved and updated version of QuickCharmStats 1.1 (QCS) was presented in 2015. QSC is designed for those researchers who harmonise variables for use in publishable statistical analyses (QuickCharmStats 1.0 released in 2014). The software and supporting documentation can be accessed for free online.

A database server version of the software designed for large-scale survey variable documentation called CharmStats Pro was developed during the course of 2015. After internal feedback and bug testing, the new software is due to be released mid-2016. It will also be open source and free to the public.

Euro Question Bank in CESSDA

The CESSDA Question Bank is a part of a larger envisioned system which will allow sharing and reuse of many of the resources held by the CESSDA archives. The initial requirements collection for the Question Bank started in 2015, based on GESIS’ Applications. Some coordination with CESSDA Work Plan tasks 2015 was undertaken to ensure a close collaboration on common tools and infrastructure for development and interoperability with other planned CESSDA developments.


The persistent identification (PID) of the data holdings of CESSDA Service Providers is a demanding issue. The functionality to unambiguously locate and access digital resources and associate them with the related metadata is becoming essential to allow the citation, retrieval and preservation of these data. CESSDA Service Providers need to introduce the use of PID for their data since maintaining and resolving PID is seen as a must for repository systems with a long term strategy.



Timeline international cooperation

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Work Plan Tasks

2015 Work Plan

The scope of the 2015 Work Plan was the allocation of work to Service Providers. Initially, twelve separate tasks were proposed for the work plan and five of them were selected for funding and are currently running (some of them beyond 2016).

CESSDA Technical Framework

The project is led by UKDS and involves four other CESSDA Service Providers in partnership (NSD, DANS, SND, and GESIS). 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.

CESSDA Data Access Policy

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 led by UKDS 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 and will be developed in the course of 2016.

CESSDA Metadata Management

The goal of this project, led by FSD, is to produce the CESSDA Metadata Standards Portfolio. It will be standards-based and cover study-level metadata and variable/question-level metadata and support multilingual searches and data discovery, reflecting the needs of both Service Providers and researchers. This project will deliver a Phase 1 product, the CESSDA Metadata Standards Portfolio, and identify the areas of where further work is needed (suggested Phase 2). The Portfolio Version will cover the most urgent needs and first and foremost support building the Product and Service Catalogue and the Euro Question Bank.

CESSDA Open Source Metadata Harvester

The ambition of this project led by NSD 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. 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 Research Infrastructure are that by providing the metadata harvester as a service means 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. This is a very cost-effective means of promoting sustainability.

CESSDA Expert Seminar 2015

DANS organised the CESSDA Expert Seminar 2015 on 30 November – 1 December 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 Support Working Group). The intention was to create awareness and knowledge of trust issues generally and, more in particular, to exchange and develop ideas on how to solve some of the issues in the field of trustworthy digital repositories for the social sciences. These contain questions on how to put into effect the obligations of the Service Providers in the “Annex 2 to the CESSDA statutes” and what tasks a CESSDA Trust Support Working Group should perform.

Work Plan Tasks

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CESSDA Working Groups

CESSDA has four working groups with the main function of providing advice and support to the Board of Directors and Managing Director in conduct of the work plan. They were formally established in December 2015.

CESSDA Trust Support Group

This group was established within the CESSDA SaW project. The CESSDA Trust Support Group consists of a core group of five persons representing five CESSDA Service Providers (SPs) with comprehensive experience with certification, and a wider assessment group representing all CESSDA members and aspirant members. The goal of the activities of the group is to support and advise members and aspirant members in all trust issues (DSA, Annex 2 and more). This group acts as an advisory Body to the CESSDA Managing Director and Board of Directors concerning all matters regarding DSA certification, and in particular supporting new members; it cooperates with other working groups regarding the Annex 2 obligations; it assists all SPs (including those of aspiring members) in acquiring and prolonging the DSA certification and complying to the Annex 2 obligations.

CESSDA Technical Group

This core group aims to monitor and advise on needs regarding technical services. CESSDA’s technical infrastructure and services will be technology intensive but decentralised, requiring a common platform to ensure interoperability and an efficient and sustainable model for the future. The group aims to review the state of the 2015 Work Plan Tasks and the output from the active CESSDA Technical Framework project in the work plan, as well as prioritise and suggest different schedules for launching new tasks, with ad­vice on allocation of budget. The group is also in place to provide input for the revised 2016 Work Plan and monitor and contribute to future work plans. Furthermore, it monitors activities in CESSDA’s ongoing external and internal projects regarding technical services and advancements. In this respect, the group will cooperate closely with and serve as advisors to the future Chief Technical Officer in the Main Office.

CESSDA Training Group

The new training group for CESSDA acts as an advisory body to the work of CESSDA Training and has three main functions: identifying the training needs of the CESSDA community and its users and supporting CESSDA Training to prioritise these needs; promoting training harmonisation across training providers within the CESSDA community; identifying new trends in training across the community. This group will maximise the potential of each SP’s training offering and promote harmonisation and knowledge transfer amongst these SPs.

CESSDA Communication Group

The need for close and effective collaboration between CESSDA Main Office and its national data Service Providers in terms of communication activities across CESSDA quickly became apparent, which led to the setting up a Communications Group. The purpose of this group, as well as the other working groups, is ultimately to help deliver the vision and mission of CESSDA, and making the CESSDA collaboration more visible to its target audiences is a key part of that. The Communications Group consists of one representative working in communications from each country that is a Member or an Observer that represent the CESSDA Service Provider(s) as well as other potential members of CESSDA. When such a person is not employed, the member of the group may also be a member of CESSDA’s Service Providers’ Forum.

Working Groups

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CESSDA begun by creating a new visual identity and the various types of templates displaying CESSDA’s new corporate identity were produced in the first half of 2015 and shared within CESSDA, followed by a leaflet and a poster. The main achievement in communications for 2015 was the launch of an entirely new website on 1 June 2015 ( The CESSDA Training Twitter account was then rebranded as @CESSDA_Data in time for the launch of the CESSDA SaW project in October 2015 and currently serves as an account for CESSDA as a whole, reporting not only on CESSDA Training, but also on other activities related to CESSDA and its projects. CESSDA also began work on a broad communication strategy, planned to be adopted in 2016.

CESSDA carried out a maturity modelling exercise showing achieved and planned activities across all listed communication areas, once in 2014 and a second time in August 2015. The second maturity exercise showed considerable improvement. The CESSDA maturity model is updated on a yearly basis. The first task set to the Communications Group was for each Service Provider represented in the group to carry out their own maturity modelling exercise for the communication activities of their organisations. This exercise was carried out in the first half of 2015, and was intended to help CESSDA to find out about its Service Providers in terms of their communication activities and objectives, and thus establish where CESSDA could be an added value for achieving those goals, and where CESSDA’s work, as the hub, should be focused (e.g. international workshops, web, storytelling through different media & academic publications, etc.). In concrete terms, the aim of this exercise was to prepare for the next stage: writing the Terms of Reference of the Communications Group, which began in autumn 2015 and which will set the scope of the group and help plan and prioritise future work.


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European Union Funded Projects

CESSDA and its data Service Providers take part in a number of international projects of relevance to its mission. CESSDA AS is a grant beneficiary in three Horizon 2020 projects as follows:

Big Data Europe
Empowering Communities with Data Technologies

CESSDA’s role is to coordinate the input of the members of the Societal Challenge 6: Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, reflective and innovative society, through workshops, in order to build a requirements specification for a new Big Data Aggregator. Once built, the Aggregator will be used by CESSDA members and others in order to explore the value of big data, as well as to evaluate the benefits of these new data sources to the social sciences and humanities, and learn the implications of managing and preserving these sources of data from the perspective of an archive. A project overview can be seen here.

Strengthening and Widening the European Infrastructure for the Social Science Data Archives

CESSDA AS is the coordinator of the CESSDA SaW project. This is a 2-year project with the primary ambition to establish the conditions for a seamless social science data archive service for the whole of the European Research Area (ERA), capable of supporting the research needs of the next generation of social scientists wherever they may be. The overarching impact of the project will be to initiate the transformation of the user experience of social science data in the ERA, resulting in a transformation of the evidence and insight available to those tackling the social and economic issues of Europe.

As project coordinator, CESSDA is heavily involved in all aspects of the project. Tasks to be carried out by the project will range from the establishment of a knowledge-sharing platform for ERA data archives and a hub, delivering a state of play evaluation of social science data archives and services in European Economic Area countries, identifying gaps and bottlenecks in existing services and producing national development plans to close the gaps and overcome present barriers. Another objective of the project is to enlarge and strengthen CESSDA through knowledge exchange between current members and potential or aspiring members. This will involve benchmarking CESSDA against a leading inter-institutional consortium of data archives, initiating a permanent forum for knowledge and information exchange as well as exploring and seeking support for an international curriculum for the professional development of practitioners in social science data services. A project overview can be seen here.

Synergies for Europe's Research Infrastructures in the Social Sciences

SERISS is a 4-year project which brings together three research infrastructures in the social sciences: the European Social Survey (ESS), the Survey for Health Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) and the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA). Also involved in SERISS are non-ESFRI research infrastructures: Generations and Gender Programme (GGP), European Values Survey (EVS) and the Wage Indicator Survey. It aims to exploit potential synergies and overcome existing fragmentation across infrastructures in order to enhance the key role played by these infrastructures, which form the bedrock of empirical social science in Europe. SERISS will focus on three broad themes: addressing key challenges for cross-national data collection, breaking down barriers between infrastructures and embracing the future of social sciences.

CESSDA’s involvement in the project covers a number of areas, from empirically assessing the quality of thesaurus keywords for questionnaire items, to interactive tools for cross-national surveys, such as a survey Project Management Portal and a Data Harmonisation Platform. An important aim of the SERISS project is also to share learning and expertise between project infrastructures and with the wider social science community. Finally, the project will address the major legal and ethical challenges facing cross-national social science research, which relies on access to large-scale data on an individual level. A project overview can be seen here.

EU projects

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Other Forms of Collaboration


IASSIST is an international organisation of professionals working in and with information technology and data services to support research and teaching in the social sciences. CESSDA Service Providers have been actively involved in the annual conferences of IASSIST for several years. Furthermore, a number of staff of CESSDA Service Providers are members of IASSIST, which brings together 300 members from a variety of workplaces, including data archives, statistical agencies, research centres, libraries, academic departments, government departments, and non-profit organisations.


RDA (Research Data Alliance) is working on building the social and technical bridges to facilitate data sharing and re-use. Given that data and scientific collaboration are global, it is only natural that this activity must be executed within a global framework. Bridges must also be built across disciplines as increasingly research questions can only be addressed and answered if data and knowledge from various disciplines are included. Even though RDA is still a relatively young initiative - launched in March 2013 - the first outputs of the start-up working groups have been produced and are now entering a subsequent phase focusing on testing these outputs in several real community applications, encouraging communities to adopt solutions and adapting the outputs based on concrete implementation cases.

In addition to engaging with all European stakeholders, communities and organisations alike, through events, papers, presentations, interviews (etc.), CESSDA was invited to the 2015 RDA Plenary meeting as a potential partner in the consortium.


ICPSR (Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research) is an international consortium of more than 700 academic institutions and research organisations. ICPSR provides leadership and training in data access, curation, and methods of analysis for the social science research community. CESSDA is actively involved in regular ICPSR meetings, and regular communication channels are established with the Main Office which led to joint participation in European Horizon 2020 project CESSDA SaW (Strengthening and Widening) where the ICPSR will serve as the “industry best” or “gold standard” organisation against which CESSDA will be benchmarked. CESSDA has a standing invitation to the ICPSR Council Meetings.


In 2014, Eurostat started to work on a research strategy for European statistics microdata together with the European Statistical System (ESS). On a meeting held in February 2015, CESSDA was asked to present possibilities for future cooperation. A draft proposal on opportunities to have a permanent working relationship between CESSDA and the European Statistical System was prepared in June 2015. The final cooperation proposal paper was presented by Eurostat to the European Statistics System Committee (ESSC) during their 26th meeting held on 24 September 2015 in Lisbon. The first Big Data Europe project workshop in the domain of social sciences took place at the offices of Eurostat in Luxembourg in November 2015. A videoconference between CESSDA and Eurostat was held in December 2015. Details of the future cooperation as well as the signing of Memorandum of Understanding will be addressed during 2016.


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Looking Ahead

ERIC Process

The process of transformation from CESSDA to CESSDA ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) started in early 2015 with Step 1 application submitted in April 2015. In June 2015, the CESSDA General Assembly decided a future structure for the ERIC with a Managing Director and a General Assembly as the governing bodies. Updated submission materials (CESSDA ERIC Statutes, Technical and Scientific Description of CESSDA with annexes) will be submitted to Step 2 application in 2016. It is expected that a majority of the current members of CESSDA will become founding members of CESSDA ERIC, to be established by the end of 2016 or early 2017.

Upcoming Initiatives & Priorities for 2016

Work carried out in 2015 as part of the 2015 Work Plan has to be followed up and upgraded in 2016. Most of the projects funded in 2015 will be carried over to 2016 and beyond, and 2016 Work Plan projects will be approved by the General Assembly. The Technical Framework project will continue its second phase of development. CESSDA Product and Service Catalogue is scheduled to start in early 2016, as well as further work on the CESSDA tasks allocated to the German Service Provider GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. Cooperation with Eurostat is an important part of future planned activities in the framework of current and newly submitted EU funded projects as well as future work plans. All four working groups will either continue and upgrade their work, as is the case for the Communications Group and the Technical Group, which have been running since 2014, or kick-start their activities in early 2016.

Future Membership

CESSDA is constantly strengthening its current membership, while at the same time seeking to widen it so as to include new member countries and appointed Service Providers, thus expanding its pan-European coverage in providing access to data in the social sciences to the research community. Current activities in that area are predominantly carried out in the framework of the CESSDA SaW project, on the one hand trying to establish general standards in research data management among current Service Providers (strengthening), and on the other, providing clear criteria for joining CESSDA for all future member countries and their data archives (widening). In parallel to that process, CESSDA is approached every year by several archives making efforts to join the consortium. Greece became a member of CESSDA on the day of the General Assembly meeting of June 2015. Belgium signed the Memorandum of Understanding in November 2015 and will be confirmed as a new member of CESSDA by the General Assembly early 2016.

The following countries are in contact with CESSDA concerning membership: Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine.

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Director's Report 2015

The Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) was fully established in June 2013 as a permanent pan-European distributed research infrastructure that aims to provide large scale, integrated and sustainable data services to the social sciences. The main objective of CESSDA is to provide seamless access to data across data archives, national borders, languages and research areas and to increase the impact of the activities that are happening at a national level. CESSDA AS (Main Office) is a Norwegian limited liability company solely owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, and functions as the legal vehicle and the coordination hub for the consortium. It is located in Bergen, Norway.


As foreseen in its statutes, the mission of CESSDA is to provide a full scale sustainable research infrastructure that enables the research community to conduct high-quality research which in turn leads to effective solutions to the major challenges facing society today. The intention since its launch has been to progress rapidly to the European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) status. At a European level, CESSDA plays an important role in several major projects funded by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, thus setting the standard in data management and access in the social sciences and humanities.


In 2015, CESSDA is a consortium consisting of 14 European member countries and one observer country. According to the CESSDA Statutes, the funding scheme shall be based on each country’s GDP. Germany and Norway have offered to pay disproportional annual amounts of respectively 750,000 and 800,000 Euros. The annual member fee contribution in 2014 was 1.9 million Euros, based on 13 member countries. In 2015 Greece joined CESSDA and the annual fee increased accordingly reaching 1.933 million Euros for 2015. There was therefore a surplus from the 2015 budget resulting from underspent means in 2015. A substantial carry over into the 2016 Work Plan budget is expected.


The Working Environment and the Natural Environment

The Main Office of CESSDA, at Parkveien 20, 5007 Bergen, had four employees in 2015:

Managing Director – Paul Jackson (until 31 July 2015), Acting Administrative Manager/Senior Project Manager – Ivana Ilijašić Veršić (from 1 August 2015), Administrative Secretary – Nina Bakanova, and Senior Communications Officer – Eleanor Smith.

CESSDA employees work in an office environment with computers as their most used working tool and they are also required, on occasions, to travel abroad to perform their duties.

The amount of days of short-term sickness absence was equal to zero days in 2015. Long-term sickness absence was not registered in 2015. No injuries or accidents were registered. CESSDA’s activities have not polluted the natural environment.

Staff by Age and Gender

The gender distribution was three women and one man in 2015. There was a higher proportion of female employees (75%) in 2015. CESSDA endeavours to achieve an even gender distribution by hiring additional staff in the Main Office in the near future. CESSDA emphasises diversity and encourages qualified candidates to apply for jobs, regardless of age or cultural and ethnic background.


Annual Accounts

The financial performance for 2015 is positive. CESSDA is financially sound, and the company’s prospects are good. The Board confirms that the requirements of the ongoing concern assumption are met. Annual net profit for 2015 was 0 NOK. Pursuant to the company’s Statutes, no dividend is distributed.

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Financial Statement

CESSDA AS Profit & Loss Statement





Operating income and expenses


Other operating income


9 152 196

7 966 857

Operating income


9 152 196

7 966 857


Payroll expenses


3 274 722

919 358

Depreciation and amortisation expense


65 400

42 276

Other operating expenses


7 669 009

8 181 044

Operating expenses


11 009 131

9 142 678


Operating profit


-1 856 935

-1 175 821


Financial income and expenses

Other interest income


15 108

31 967

Other financial income


2 474 644

1 144 942

Other interest expenses


2 178


Other financial expenses


630 639

1 088

Net financial income and expenses


1 856 935

1 175 821


Annual net profit




NB: values in NOK


CESSDA AS Balance Sheet





Fixed assets
Tangible fixed assets


Equipment and other movables


155 600

221 000

Total tangible fixed assets


155 600

221 000


Total fixed assets


155 600

221 000


Current assets


Accounts receivables


185 789

17 268

Other receivables


204 099

459 576

Total debtors


389 888



Cash and bank deposits


Cash and bank deposits


28 673 556

19 521 192


Total current assets


29 063 554

19 998 035


Total assets


29 219 045

20 219 035

NB: values in NOK


CESSDA AS Balance Sheet

Equity and liabilities





Restricted equity

Share capital


50 000

50 000

Total restricted equity


50 000

50 000


Total equity


50 000

50 000


Current liabilities

Trade creditors


141 418

515 479

Deduction of tax and other public liabilities


150 360

271 525

Other short-term liabilities


4 624 032

5 022 912

Deferred income


24 253 235

14 359 119

Total short term liabilities


29 169 045

20 169 035


Total liabilities


29 169 045

20 169 035

Total equity and liabilities


29 219 045

20 219 035

NB: values in NOK

Notes to the Financial Statements

Accounting Principles

The accounts have been prepared in accordance with the Norwegian Accounting Act and good accounting practice in Norway. The accounting principles are described below.

Operating Income and Expenses

Dividends from investments in stocks and shares are recognized in the year in which they are received. Gains and losses are recognized in the year of realization, except when recognition in an earlier period is in accordance with good accounting practice.

Expenses are recognized in accordance with the matching principle. This means that expenses are recognized in the same period as the related income.

Classification of Assets and Liabilities

Assets meant for long-term ownership or use are classified as fixed assets. Other assets are classified as current assets. Outstanding receivables to be repaid within one year are classified as current assets. The classification of liabilities is based on analogous criteria.

Fixed assets are valued at acquisition cost. Fixed assets which have a limited economic life shall be depreciated in accordance with a reasonable depreciation schedule. Fixed assets shall be written down to their fair value when a decline in value is not expected to be temporary. The write down shall be reversed when the basis for the write down is no longer present.

Current assets are valued at the lower of acquisition cost and fair value. Liabilities are appraised at the nominal value on the acquisition date.


Assets in foreign currency are translated at the exchange rate on the balance sheet date, NOK/EUR = 9,0365 for 2014 and NOK/EUR = 9,6190 for 2015.


Since the business is a not for profit organization it is not liable for corporation tax in accordance with Tax Law § 2-32.


The company has established a defined benefit pension scheme. The pension premium is classified as payroll expenses.


Note 1 – Payroll Expenses, Numbers of Employees, Loans to Employees etc

Payroll expenses consist of:




Wages and holiday allowance

2 362 492

756 522

Payroll tax

404 182

106 734

Pension premium

239 726


Other benefits

268 321

56 102


3 274 722

919 358


Average number of full time equivalent



NB: values in NOK

Three employees were hired during the autumn of 2014.

The total remuneration paid to directors was € 126 253. The company changed directors in 2015. The fee paid to Members of the Board was € 24 951. Each board member was paid € 3 119 and the chairman of the board was paid € 6 238.

The company is obliged to have a pension scheme according to the Norwegian Law of compulsory occupational pension scheme and have established a defined benefit pension scheme which satisfies the requirements.

Amounts paid to the company’s auditor were € 5 783 for audit and € 5 809 for other services.


Note 2 – Ownership Structure

The company’s share capital is NOK 50 000. The share capital comprises of 10 shares with a nominal value of NOK 5 000. The shares have equal voting rights.

On the 31 December the company had the following shareholders:


Antall aksjer






Note 3 – Changes in Equity



Shareholders' equity 01.01

50 000

50 000

Profit for the year



Shareholders' equity 31.12

50 000

50 000

NB: values in NOK


Note 4 – Tangible Fixed Assets

Fixtures, fittings and equipment

Acquisition cost 01.01

266 276

Purchase in accounting year


Acquisition cost 31.12

266 276

Accumulated depreciation

110 676

Book value 31.12

155 600


Annual depreciation

65 400


Expected economic life

3–5 years

NB: values in NOK


Note 5 – Maturity of Receivables and Payables

Liabilities that fall due more than five years after the end of the accounting year are € 0.

Receivables that fall due more than one year after the end of the accounting year are € 0.


Note 6 – Breakdown of Income

Income in the year was derived from the following sources:




Funding from Norwegian Research Council

7 410 640

6 582 960

Other grant income

11 635 672

8 987 991



19 046 312

15 570 951

Available as future operating budget:


Deferred income

Deferred income pr. 01.01

14 359 119

Grant income in accounting year

19 046 312

Operating expenses

-11 009 131

Net financial income and expenses

1 846 935

Deferred income until 31.12

24 253 235

NB: values in NOK


Note 7 – Fixed Assets

In the cash and bank deposits record are fixed tax deduction funds included with NOK 200 000.

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Bodies of CESSDA

General Assembly

York Sure-Vetter Germany – Chair
Kari Balke Øiseth Norway – Vice Chair

Matthias Reiter-Pázmándy Austria
Petr Ventluka and Jindrich Krejci Czech Republic
Steen Ousager and Troels Rasmussen Denmark
Sami Borg and Petteri Kauppinen Finland
Jacques Dubucs and Bertrand Jouve France
Brunhild Spannhake Germany
Algis Krupavicius Lithuania
Wieske Bressers and Peter Doorn The Netherlands
Kari Bjørke Norway
Miloslav Bahna and Robert Klobucky Slovakia
Albin Kralj Slovenia
Susanna Bylin and Elisabeth Thomson Sweden
Peter Farago and Brian Kleiner Switzerland
Paul Meller and Hilary Beedham United Kingdom


Board of Directors

Bjørn Henrichsen Norway – Chair
Matthew Woollard United Kingdom – Vice Chair

Dana Hamplova Czech Republic
Hans Jørgen Marker Sweden
Markus Quandt (until 17.12.2015) Germany
Roxane Silberman France
Anne Westendorp The Netherlands


Scientific Advisory Board

Myron Gutmann United States – Chair

Bernt Aardal Norway
Denise Lievesley United Kingdom
Nancy Pedersen Sweden
Simon Hodson France
Tomaz Smrekar Slovenia


Service Providers' Forum

Austria Matthias Reiter-Pázmándy
Czech Republic – CSDA Jindřich Krejčí and Yana Leontiyeva
Denmark – DDA Anne Sofie Fink
Finland – FSD Sami Borg and Helena Laaksonen
France – CNRS Roxane Silberman
Germany – GESIS Alexia Katsanidou
Greece – So.Da.Net Dimitra Kondyli
Lithuania – LiDA Algis Krupavicius
The Netherlands – DANS Marnix van Berchum
Norway – NSD Vigdis Kvalheim
Slovakia – SASD (observer) Miloslav Bahna
Slovenia – ADP Janez Stebe and Irena Vipavc Brvar
Sweden – SND Hans Jørgen Marker
Switzerland – FORS Brian Kleiner
United Kingdom – UKDS John Shepherdson


Non-members (CESSDA)

Belgium – VUB Johan Surkyn
Estonia – ESSDA Rein Murakas
Hungary – TARKI Foundation Tamas Rudas
Ireland – ISSDA John Howard
Italy – UNIDATA Sonia Stefanizzi
Portugal – APIS Claudia Oliveira
Romania – RODA Adrian Dusa


CESSDA Organisational Chart

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