Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives



CESSDA interviews ESFRI Chair Jan Hrušák

In June this year, CESSDA organised a Strengthening and Widening meeting in Milan. The two-day event presented CESSDA’s growing assets and services to potential new member countries.

As CESSDA prepares the next such workshop, to be held in Belgrade on 14-15 November, panelist Jan Hrušák, ESFRI Chair, from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic answers some questions on the sustainability and role of CESSDA as an ERIC.

What would be your number one recommendation for CESSDA in terms of long-term sustainability and in terms of impact?

Being an ESFRI research infrastructure several of the recommendations drafted in the ESFRI Long Term Sustainability report are relevant for CESSDA. I would probably stress the issue of integration. It seems of vital importance, given the broadly distributed character and the societal importance of CESSDA.

CESSDA needs to gain greater visibility and all European countries should become members of CESSDA ERIC.

A further important step for ensuring long-term sustainability is for CESSDA to develop a stronger internal organisational structure, to help protect from local fluctuations.

The reason for this is that as a distributed research infrastructure, CESSDA faces the challenge of dealing with different funding regimes and cycles as well as different decision-making processes. It is therefore of prior importance to have a contingency strategy with sufficient funding from the central management structure, in case of budget volatility in the member countries.

In terms of impact, CESSDA should continue its efforts in setting standards and promoting best practices in data management.

As our society becomes more and more data driven, it is of uttermost importance that the datasets are not only well organised, interconnected, and preserved, i.e. treated in accordance with the FAIR principles, but on top of that, that the ethical dimension and data integrity dimensions are adequately considered.

CESSDA has developed a deep understanding of these issues, and it has the potential to be one of the major players in the European Open Science Agenda.

In your view, how can CESSDA help strengthen and consolidate the European Research Infrastructure ecosystem?

Research data are the primary output of all the research infrastructures irrespectively of the scientific field. The primary explorations of these data are perfectly well understood and maintained by their original producers i.e. the scientists working in the domain.

However, these “usual practices” quickly reach their limit when it comes to transversal data processing, to interoperability or to operations on aggregated data sets across different scientific domains.

The understanding and experience gathered by CESSDA on data management and on storage, is of vital importance for all the other research infrastructures irrespectively of their scientific domain.

Spreading this knowledge and sharing both experience and best practices would be a great contribution to the integration of the European landscape of Research Infrastructures, and could be included in the CESSDA mission.

More information:

Strengthening and widening, Belgrade - 14-15 November 2018
CESSDA addresses potential member countries during a two-day event in Milan (5 June)
ESFRI Roadmap 2018