Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives



Tour of CESSDA – NSD – Norwegian Centre for Research Data

This series of articles highlight each of CESSDA's national service providers one at a time. As the summer draws to a close, we start here at home in Norway.

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

NSD – Norwegian Centre for Research Data was established as a national organisation for research infrastructure in 1971, and has been owned by the Ministry of Education and Research since 2003.

Our mission is to ensure free and open access to research data, and improve the basis for empirical research through a broad range of data and support services. NSD is the Norwegian service provider and member of the CESSDA Consortium, and participates in a number of large EU projects through CESSDA ERIC.

  • When did your country become a member?

Norway has been a member since the very beginning, and was one of the founding members of CESSDA, when it was established as an informal umbrella organisation in 1976. Today, Norway is also the host country. CESSDA Main Office opened in September 2014, around the corner from NSD in Bergen. This means that we have been working very closely with our European colleagues!

  • What does your organisation bring to CESSDA?

As mentioned above, NSD has been active both politically and operationally in the organisation of CESSDA. Today, our expertise in data curation, FAIR Data, data protection (EU GDPR), access management and IT solutions (cf. NESSTAR) is perhaps our most important contribution, in addition to Norway's financial contribution to the operation of CESSDA.

NSD also has one of the largest professional communities in Europe when it comes to competence in the field of personal data protection in research.

NSD participates in several CESSDA EU and internal projects and contributes to the development of CESSDA tools and services. Our ongoing activities are within the SSHOC project, the CESSDA Metadata Model and the CESSDA Capability Development Model.

We also contribute to various CESSDA training events, and we took part in establishing the CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide (DMEG) and the future CESSDA Data Archive Guide (DAG).

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

Over the years, the cooperation with our colleagues within the CESSDA network has been instrumental for the development of NSD as a trusted digital repository and research infrastructure in Norway and beyond. This cooperation with other social science data archives and services – starting long before EU as well as national research infrastructure funding programmes became part of the agenda – gave us the opportunity to share expertise and technology, which has been a key benefit for us.

This professional cooperation across borders is also important in order to keep track of developments in the field of research data and allows us to innovate our products and services.

This partnership reinforces our role at a national and international level, as well as our competence, which in turn helps us to deliver higher-quality data services. In line with Norwegian research policy, the main goal of NSD has always been that Norwegian data is made accessible to researchers both within and outside of Norway – to enhance the possibilities for comparative and cross-border research.

In that context, being a part of CESSDA and having our data as ‘findable’ in the CESSDA Data Catalogue is important. Moreover, it is equally important for us to provide Norwegian researchers with access to data from other countries.

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

The tools and services which are most of interest to us are the ones specifically for service providers, for example, the CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide; CESSDA Training; CESSDA Vocabulary Service; and the European Language Social Science Thesaurus (ELSST).

We also provide data to the CESSDA Data Catalogue. We recommend the Data Catalogue for user access to data resources from all over Europe.

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

The CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide is a good introductory course for researchers on data management and data management planning. Better data planning helps increase the quality of data and supports good data documentation and GDPR compliance, which in turn increases data reusability.

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

The joint efforts of the international community that make up CESSDA provides us with useful tools and services for the handling of research data in accordance with the FAIR principles. These tools and services are regularly improved and new ones developed, thanks to the EU-funded and internal work plan projects facilitated by CESSDA.

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

We find the CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide to be a helpful introduction to data management for our users in general.

We recommend attending training webinars organised by CESSDA, and regularly check the CESSDA training website as it is useful for finding webinars and other resources. Finally, following @CESSDA_Data on Twitter is a sure way not to miss out on upcoming training events and news related to research data.

  • How do you see CESSDA supporting you in 2020?

CESSDA can support us by continuing to develop new tools and services that help us (CESSDA Service Providers) make our own national data catalogues FAIR and further refine existing ones. We believe that fulfilling the FAIR Data principles will be possible only with strong cooperation between research data actors.

Moreover, CESSDA’s work at a political level is also crucial. Funding of data service providers at a national level is important to ensure a robust and sustainable European Research Infrastructure.


Read the last article in this series about the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences (FORS).