SODA: A roadmap towards a Belgian data archive in 2020
Although a member of CESSDA, Belgium does not yet have a data archive. However, the final report of the SODA project, expected in November 2019, will explain to decision makers exactly how to launch one in 2020.
When the funding was cut for the Belgian Archives for the Social Sciences (BASS) in 1998, Belgium became a white spot on the map of data archives in Europe. Then in 2014 the Social Sciences Data Archive (SODA) project was launched to study how to create a new data archive.
After some struggles in the beginning, the State Archives of Belgium took over the coordination of the project in 2017, giving it a fresh start. There are now concrete results to show, such as metadata crosswalks, an overview of possibilities for the data archive’s legal form, and a scientific report on the needs of Belgian researchers in social sciences and more.
The project will end in November 2019 with the delivery of a final report on how to set up a CESSDA-compliant service provider in Belgium. This document will outline all the steps for creating a new institution with a business model, a list of recommended international standards (including the CESSDA Core Metadata Model), technical documentation on procedures and software, as well as data deposit and access agreements.
Furthermore, the State Archives are preparing an application for the CoreTrustSeal to achieve compliance with CESSDA requirements. This work is being supported by the CESSDA Trust Working Group, which offers both existing and aspiring service providers guidance and support in meeting a range of issues and standards relating to trusted data and services.
“With this roadmap the federal state, the linguistic Communities and the Regions, which all share the competence of scientific research, will be able to make a joint decision to found the data archive,” stated Aziz Naji from the Belgian Science Policy Office (BELSPO). “This will finally enable large-scale dissemination of high quality Belgian social science research data as well as its long-term, secure preservation,” Aziz Naji added.
“CESSDA looks forward to welcoming on board our Belgian partner as one of CESSDA’s official service providers. 2020 will mark the end of the Horizon 2020 funding programme and the beginning of Horizon Europe. It is an important time for us as the social sciences and humanities to stand strong,” stated Ron Dekker, Director of CESSDA.