Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives



Tour of CESSDA – DATICE – The Icelandic Social Science Data Service

This series of articles highlight each of CESSDA's national service providers one at a time. The first archive that we visit this year is a relatively new one, DATICE, in Iceland.

  • Who are you and what role do you play in CESSDA?

The Icelandic Social Science Data Service (DATICE) was formally established in late 2018 and is located in Reykjavík, within the Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) at the University of Iceland. We are the official CESSDA service provider in Iceland.

So far, our main role in CESSDA has been to advocate responsible and FAIR use of research data in Iceland, and to promote CESSDA’s activities and resources. We also contribute by working on expanding our data collection and making it accessible to researchers across Europe.

  • When did your country become a member?

Iceland joined CESSDA in 2018, first as a partner through CESSDA Widening activities and then as an official member on 17 June 2019, which coincidentally is Iceland's national day.

  • What does your organisation bring to CESSDA?

DATICE has been in a start-up phase for the past couple of years, so our contribution to CESSDA has so far been modest. Our focus has mainly been on developing essential parts of DATICE’s services and technical infrastructure.

At the end of last year, we reached an important milestone as we launched a Dataverse repository which will replace our Nesstar system.

This year, we aim to develop our service further by adding some valuable features to our Dataverse system, including tabular data exploration. We look forward to sharing our experience and know-how in this area with other service providers.

We are also working on the Icelandic translation of the European Language Social Science Thesaurus (ELSST) and we will soon start work to make our data accessible via the CESSDA Data Catalogue.

  • What tangible benefits does your organisation get out of being a CESSDA member?

DATICE has benefitted in numerous ways from first a partnership with CESSDA and then membership. For example, we have received support and advice from fellow service providers, particularly from the AUSSDA office in Vienna, as well as GESIS in Germany, which we are very grateful for.

DATICE has also benefited from the various resources made available by CESSDA and its network of service providers across Europe (e.g. the CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide, training activities, etc.), which we have found to be invaluable tools during the developmental phase of our services.

  • Which CESSDA tools and/or services are of interest to your organisation? (see list online)

The European Language Social Science Thesaurus (ELSST) is very relevant to us, as well as the CESSDA Data Catalogue. Both of these tools will help us to promote Icelandic research data and make sure that it is findable for researchers abroad.

We plan to make use of the thesaurus when indexing data within our Dataverse system and to contribute to future revisions of ELSST. These tools are also of great interest to researchers in our country.

The CESSDA catalogue is a valuable resource for social scientists and gives access to an incredible wealth of data; and ELSST provides researchers with a way to look up essential words and concepts in a number of languages.

The European Question Bank is also an interesting project and would harmonise well with the work of colleagues at our host institute, SSRI, who have been developing a searchable question bank in Icelandic.

  • How does the CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide help researchers to make their research data FAIR?

The CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide (DMEG) is designed by European experts to help social science researchers make their research data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable (FAIR). The FAIR data principles are at the heart of this project.

The guide has a specific section on FAIR data to help researchers prepare the research data for optimal (re-)use, with a video and an expert tip.

It has seven chapters and is regularly updated. We find it extremely useful when explaining essential data management strategies to researchers and students.

The DMEG is well structured and easily accessible, we plan to make full use of it in the services that we offer, for example, when assisting researchers in setting up a Data Management Plan for their research, and as part of our training and teaching.

  • How is CESSDA helping you to make your data compliant with the FAIR Data principles?

We believe the implementation and dissemination of the FAIR data principles hinge on strong cooperation between those who have a thorough understanding of data management.

Monitoring closely CESSDA’s activities and projects, as well as the latest developments in the field, means that we are in a good position to work towards making our data compliant with the FAIR data principles.

Our aim is thus to serve as a national example for improvements in the area of responsible use and conservation of data.

  • Which CESSDA training events or resources do staff in your organisation recommend and why?

We regularly recommend the CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide to our colleagues, researchers and students who wish to enhance their skills in data management. The guide has also served as a very good resource when explaining the essentials of proper data management and assisting researchers in setting up a Data Management Plan.

We also monitor closely all activities of CESSDA and its many service providers, so that we can recommend the most relevant ones to researchers and students within our university, as well as other actors who have an interest in FAIR data management.

  • How do you see CESSDA supporting you in 2021?

We hope to see CESSDA continue their important work of providing a shared platform for social science data archives in Europe and fostering collaborations between them. It was a turning point for DATICE to have been appointed as an official CESSDA service provider in 2019.

A major goal for us now is to demonstrate the advantages and benefits of having a national data archive such as DATICE, as well as the impact of our services, and of course to secure sustainable funding.

This is a shared priority for all data services across Europe. It is therefore helpful for us to be able to seek advice, support and feedback from CESSDA and its service providers, and benefit from their years of experience.


Read the last article in this series about NSD – Norwegian Centre for Research Data.