Image: Fabien Barral via Unsplash
Fri 17 Dec 2021

The CESSDA Roadshow on the Circular Economy was the last in the series of virtual events. Connecting national service providers and top-level researchers, it explored the key role the social sciences play with impartial, trusted and reliable data on attitudes and practices related to recycling and eco-design.

With a mix of practical guides, user stories and interactive discussions, the roadshow highlighted the valuable resources CESSDA has to offer researchers working on the circular economy, giving examples of data use and reuse, highlighting best practices and explaining how researchers can organise and process data while also helping to shed light on the many facets of this very broad topic and opportunities for greater collaboration across disciplines and data sources moving forward.

Highlights on CESSDA DC® and DMEG®

Jan Dalsten, currently head of the department for Communication of Archival Data, Danish National Archives gave a deep dive into discovering Danish data sources: CESSDA Data Catalogue® - Discovery of Danish Datasets related to the Circular Economy.

Johana Chylíková, a Post-doctorate at the Czech Social Science Data Archive (CSDA), walked participants through the CESSDA DMEG: Data Management Expert Guide - Organise and Process. Collectively, these presentations served as practical information on the wealth of data available in CESSDA through its Data Catalogue® and DMEG®, which can also be used by other disciplines, such as economics or biology to help support an interdisciplinary approach.

User stories

The Roadshow featured two inspirational user stories on circular economy research. The first came from Konstantinos Tsagarakis, Professor of Economics of Environmental Science and Technology at the Technical University of Crete: Use Case on Circular Economy - A View on Societal Impacts and Priorities.

The second came from Ana Slavec, Consulting statistician and researcher at InnoRenew CoE Renewable Materials and Healthy Environments Research and Innovation Centre of Excellence: Challenges with the Reuse of Data on Circular Economy - Experience of Researchers at InnoReview.


With over 140 definitions of Circular Economy in the literature, it would be important to have a community definition. This would help ensure data collection is effective in gaining insights on what triggers real change, such as understanding if a change in legislation is because of a change in attitudes in the electorate or a prerequisite for changing people’s attitudes. That type of research would really help us understand the interlink between people’s views and the policies enacted. Education is needed at all levels, from primary schools to universities so we have the same understanding about circularity.

Interdisciplinary cooperation is a key aspect here but it has to be done before the data collection with consensus on the new terminology and on formulating questions so we are clear about what exactly information we’re asking for.

CESSDA is making an important contribution to research in the social sciences through its data and metadata collection, shedding light on people’s attitudes towards recycling as an environmental good practice, including self-reported behaviour.

The CESSDA archives can themselves be seen as reflecting circular economy principles by preserving data created for reuse so others can “recycle” it and benefit from insights already made. This is also effective in reducing the amount of time spent collecting data by optimising data sources that already exist.

What would be useful are datasets that help us understand if there are gaps between attitudes and reported behaviour as opposed to what actually happens. Decisions made by enterprises can also have a significant impact so this also needs to be assessed, for example, understanding business motivations and consumer reactions. This would make CESSDA’s contribution even better. Surveys combined with government data can both help research on the circular economy.

Concerted efforts are also important for enhancing the metadata from national statistical offices and making it available to a wider pool of researchers. Equally important are the use cases like the ones emerging from the Roadshow series are also an important channel for others to get inspiration and learn from the experiences of other researchers. CESSDA is very well placed to be at the forefront of cooperation and interdisciplinary approaches to research on the Circular Economy.

On-demand Resources

Download the overview, slide deck and full recording on ZENODO.

The CESSDA community and newcomers can re-use all the recorded resources on the Training via the YouTube Playlist for the Roadshow on Circular Economy.

A news item by Trust-IT