Image: Fabien Barral via Unsplash
Fri 10 Dec 2021

The CESSDA Roadshow on COVID-19 was the first of five deep dives on the value of the Data Catalogue® and Data Management Expert Guide® supporting researchers from the social sciences in tackling global challenges.

Bringing together researchers and service providers, it showed how to use and re-use the reservoir of resources on COVID-19 available in the CESSDA DC® since the first wave of the pandemic through the efforts of the CESSDA national Ambassadors. These resources span national data archives, surveys and gender-related studies, with researchers sharing their first-hand experiences in using them to give key insights into societal impacts of COVID-19 from a social science perspective.

Participants were also given a lowdown on how to use the CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide® (DMEG) for archiving, fast-track publication and collaboration to make the research workflow smoother and more effective.

Insights into societal impacts came from both a CESSDA COVID-19 Ambassador, Helena Laaksonen, Director of Finnish Social Science Data Archive, and Dr Giulia Malaguarnera, representing Eurodoc, the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers. The Roadshow wrapped-up with more interactive discussions on how CESSDA and its service providers are supporting researchers on global challenges like COVID-19.

Highlights on CESSDA DC® and DMEG®

Alle Bloom, Research Associate with the UK Data Service at the University of Manchester, gave a demo on how to discover the resources in the CESSDA DC®. Tutorial: Places to find COVID data and what data is available & Demo on how to search the CESSDA DC®

Ricarda Braukmann, Data Station Manager at the Dutch Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) explained how the CESSDA DMEG® guides researchers to fast-track publication and collaboration. Tutorial: CESSDA DMEG® - Data Discovery, Archiving and Publication Routes, European Diversity.

Dr Braukmann was also joined by Otto Bodi-Fernandez, AUSSDA local contact point at the University of Graz. Together, they showed How CESSDA DMEG® supports publication in the social sciences.

User Stories

Two inspirational user stories showcased the value of data use and re-use enabled by CESSDA. The first came from Julia Partheymüller, Senior Scientist at the Department of Government at the University of Vienna and part of the Austrian Corona Panel Project (ACPP). Key cross-disciplinary insights are captured in The Austrian Corona Panel Project: monitoring individual and societal dynamics amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Watch the recorded story with Julia Partheymüller.

The second user story came from three researchers at the University of Trento, Anna Zamberlan, Filippo Gioachin, Davide Gritti, who used data available in the UK Data Archive, and discoverable via the CESSDA DC® as the basis for their research paper entitled Work less, help out more? The persistence of gender inequality in housework and childcare during UK COVID-19, Anna Zamberlan, Filippo Gioachin, Davide Gritti, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Volume 73, 2021.


The CESSDA DC® is a treasure trove for the social sciences with over 30,000 datasets available. 2020 marked a major milestone with the inclusion of COVID-19 datasets and metadata from national data archives, surveys, administrative and government data and gender-related studies as new entries from 13 national service providers. Collectively, these datasets bring multiple insights into the many societal impacts ripe for investigation, reuse and citation in the social sciences.

The data available has enabled research on behavioural aspects during the pandemic, such as impacts on employment and the division of domestic chores over time. The surveys have a broad scope at the intersection of diverse disciplines, from economics to psychology, bringing insights into behaviour previously not covered or not given so much weight as is the case with the pandemic, revealing just how important it is. Research has also brought to light new insights into the role of open science in disciplines like the social sciences, with a focus on transparency and openness, citizen reactions versus policy decisions, where data needs to be anonymised to protect privacy along the legislative principle “as open as possible, as closed as necessary”.

Service providers have been quick to adapt to the impacts of the pandemic, which is generating a lot of new data, which has to be archived very quickly and so has increased the workload but has also led to new data collections. Otto Bodi-Fernandez explained how AUSSDA has set up a new workflow for fast-track publishing, which could be extended to other research themes. AUSSDA has also implemented a set of security checks for staff working from home as part of a more structured approach to efficient meetings and more inclusive discussions.

In Finland, the demand for data at the Social Science Data Archive has skyrocketed and this trend continues in 2021 though it remains to see what changes may occur in the future. Like Austria, the shift to remote working was very swift with positive attitudes towards carrying out many tasks remotely provided the network and IT system are properly protected, as highlighted by Helena Laaksonen from FSD. This is unlikely to change in the future. However, because CESSDA is a concerted effort, members also need to meet physically to coordinate activities across countries.

On-demand Resources

Download the overview, slide deck and full recording on ZENODO

The CESSDA community and newcomers from the Roadshow series can re-use all the recorded resources on the Training YouTube Playlist for COVID-19

A news item by Trust-IT