Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives



Tour of CESSDA - Data Centre Serbia for Social Sciences

This series of articles highlight each of CESSDA's national service providers one at a time. Today we turn our attention to our newest member, Serbia.

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

The Data Centre Serbia for Social Sciences (DCS) is part of the scientific research infrastructure of the Republic of Serbia. DCS was formally established in March 2014 as an organisational unit of the Institute of Economic Sciences, Belgrade. Today, DCS collects and preserves data for potential secondary use - analysis for research, teaching and learning, and confirmatory analysis based on the Open Access principle.

In the future, it will also store sensitive data, which will not be available for use without proper security procedures (researcher/teacher accreditation, safe room, etc.) and user licenses according to the Personal Data Protection Law of the Republic of Serbia. DCS will also organise training for the research and teaching community, as well as roundtables and conferences.

The establishment and development of DCS were facilitated through the implementation of several international projects (FP7 SERSCIDA, H2020 CESSDA SaW, SCOPES SEEDS and RRPP Data Rescue) in the period 2012-2017. Today, it is supported directly by CESSDA ERIC, as an official Service Provider.

Our main role in CESSDA is to contribute to the European Research Infrastructure with valuable data from the social sciences in Serbia.

  • When did your country become a member?

The General Assembly of CESSDA approved Serbia’s bid to become a member on 22 November 2018 and the country officially became a member of CESSDA on 1 February 2019. We are currently CESSDA’s newest member!

  • What does your organisation bring to CESSDA?

DCS a unique experience in establishing a data archive and promoting data in a small emerging market economy. We provide quality and valuable research data from Serbia. Serbia is the first country from the western and central Balkans region to join CESSDA.

This is an opportunity for us to be a potential leader in the region and a central hub for data and knowledge sharing in the social sciences. For instance, we could set up common workshops, round tables and training courses for local researchers and data professionals.

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

By being a part of CESSDA, DCS has the possibility to further establish and thoroughly develop its organisational infrastructure. Also, DCS now has the opportunity to join CESSDA’s Working Groups and be involved in various international projects regarding data archiving that CESSDA is involved in. Data Centre Serbia is in the initial stages of development and is now a part of the Training Group. In the future, we would also like to be part of Trust and Tools & Services Working Groups.

  • Which CESSDA tools and/or services are of interest to your organisation?

In this early phase of its development, our organisation is mostly interested in CESSDA Training activities and in particular the CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide (DMEG) and as well as in the CESSDA Capability Development Model. We have also applied for the new mentorship programme that kicked-off this year. This new programme offers one-on-one support and matches experts active in CESSDA’s widening activities with interested CESSDA partners.

  • How do you benefit from being a member of the Training Group?

Being part of the Training Group gives us the opportunity to get acquainted with all the activities performed by the group. Data Centre Serbia participated in the train the trainers workshop on the DMEG held in Athens in May 2019. Based on the knowledge that our staff acquired, we are now preparing a workshop for social science researchers in Belgrade. The main goal is to introduce the scientific community in Serbia to the topics topic of storage, archiving, publishing and sharing primary data.

We will also organise a regional round table with colleagues from Croatia and North Macedonia at the beginning of December 2019.

In addition, we are translating the CESSDA Controlled Vocabulary Service tool and revising the user guide for the Metadata Office. Both of these activities are being done in the framework of the Tools & Services Working Group.

  • Which CESSDA Training activity do staff in your organisation recommend and why?

We think that the CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide is a very valuable resource for DCS staff and also for researchers in social sciences in Serbia. We therefore attend related webinars and workshops when we can, such as the Data Discovery webinar which was held in April; in May we attended two SERISS webinars: Meeting funders’ requirements – archiving and data sharing and Finding and reusing data. As an important part of training of our staff, our manager participated in the CESSDA Training Workshop on the Data Management Expert Guide mentioned above, in order to learn how to use the developed materials in the delivery of training to their researchers.

  • How do you see CESSDA supporting you in 2019?

We are hoping to receive some assistance from CESSDA so that Data Centre Serbia can become a service provider of CESSDA and thereby meet all the obligations set out in the statutes. We still need to improve our legal documents, data policies, communication channels and protocols, as well as develop our technical infrastructure.

The CESSDA Widening Group can actively help us to update our existing data policies and written protocols for data management and access and to create new ones.

We have also joined CESSDA’s brand new mentorship programme and our mentor for this year is FORS - Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences, in Switzerland. In partnership with FORS, we are planning to work migrating Serbian data from FORSbase to DCS E-prints. We expect this programme to help us identify our main stakeholders and strategic partners, finalise Dataverse and our metadata schemes.

Read the last article in this series about the Belgian Social Sciences Data Archive (SODA).