Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives



CESSDA lays the technical foundations for a pan-European social science data research infrastructure

Phase 1 of the Technical Framework project has recently been completed. It ran from October 2015 to April 2016 and was intended to build the foundations that the various components of the CESSDA Research Infrastructure (such as a Products and Services Catalogue) will sit on.

The deliverables are the Technical Architecture v1.0 document (which provides common standards to guide the design and implementation of interoperable products and services for CESSDA), a Development Infrastructure (which provide a common set of tools, tests and code repositories to foster common development practices, and help align standards across the CESSDA Service Provider community) and an Impact Analysis (which looks at how the Technical Framework contributes to CESSDA’s vision, then examines each of the deliverables in turn to see if and how it meets the ‘distributed/integrated/borderless’ systems requirements and how it addresses the relevant key performance indicators).

The delivery partners were DANS, GESIS, NSD, SND, UKDS (lead), with all partners contributing to the Technical Architecture document and UKDS and NSD responsible for specifying, installing and configuring the components of the development infrastructure.

The Development Infrastructure is already in use, as the Open Source Metadata Harvester (a deliverable of the Metadata Harvester project) was developed with it. However, there is much more to do, as there are no acceptance or production environments at present. This means that software components can be developed, but CESSDA has no way of formally testing and accepting them into service, nor of running them so that they are made accessible to users. Also, discussions with Service Providers to make them aware of the detailed guidance contained in the Technical Architecture and gather their feedback are needed. It is anticipated that funding will be made available from the CESSDA budget to complete this additional work.

Once this work has been completed, there will be clear guidelines and formal acceptance criteria to ensure software components for the Research Infrastructure can be designed, built and tested to comply with common standards and required quality levels. This will enable CESSDA 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.

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Find out more about the CESSDA Technical Group here.