Tour of CESSDA - The Czech Social Science Data Archive
This series of articles highlight each of CESSDA's national service providers one at a time. This time we turn our attention to the Czech Republic.
- Who are you and what role do you play in CESSDA?
The Czech Social Science Data Archive (CSDA) was established in 1998 in response to a long-term demand from Czech social science researchers. The first attempt to organise a national social data service had already been initiated in the late 1960s. Unfortunately, it failed to receive the necessary political support.
Currently CSDA serves as a national resource centre for social science research, which acquires, processes, documents, archives, and preserves digital datasets from Czech and international social research and makes these data publicly available. It is also the Czech node within the pan-European distributed research infrastructure CESSDA and the CESSDA Service Provider in the Czech Republic. CSDA is also active in the CESSDA Training Working Group.
CSDA’s objective is to develop and maintain efficient and long-term sustainable national data services fulfilling the needs of the social science research community. In line with this ambition we strive to build a modern, flexible data archive of a reasonable size, with a firm connection with our user community. We are also integrated into structures within the European Research Area and beyond.
CSDA provides technical and organisational support for large-scale research surveys in the Czech Republic, e.g. the Czech Household Panel Survey or Czech surveys under the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP). We also support the use of secondary data analysis in research by providing training courses and taking part in educational programmes in the areas of methodology and analysis of social science data. In addition, CSDA offers seminars, workshops, training and lectures and is highly active in promoting its services within the Czech social science community.
- When did your country become a member?
The Czech Republic was a founding member of CESSDA ERIC. The project of building the Czech CESSDA node started in October 2010. The Czech Republic first became a member of the CESSDA consortium in 2013 and then a member of CESSDA ERIC in 2017.
- What does your organisation bring to CESSDA?
We bring know-how from the Czech social scientific background and experience from establishing a small-scale social science data archive in a central European country.
We provide quality and valuable research data from the Czech Republic and offer the experience of skilled sociologists and researchers who have worked with social science data throughout their academic careers or/and produced data collected within their research projects.
- What tangible benefits does your organisation get out of being a CESSDA member?
By being a part of CESSDA, we take advantage of having the opportunity to develop our archive, improve our services for users and data collectors and get more experience in writing training and educational materials.
We can also cooperate internationally and get much more insight into trends in data archiving. To establish contact with colleagues across many European countries and learn from their experience is the most valuable aspect of being a CESSDA member.
- Which CESSDA tools and/or services are of interest to your organisation?
Most of them are of interest to us, namely CESSDA Training activities, the CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide (DMEG), the CESSDA Question Bank, the CESSDA Data Catalogue, widening activities and some other tools and services currently being developed.
- How does the CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide help researchers to make their research data FAIR?
Hopefully a lot! The CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide is a very handy tool that should help researchers to know how to handle their data so that they are Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable. If followed, researchers’ data will be FAIR.
- Which CESSDA Training activity do staff in your organisation recommend and why?
We recommend the training activities around the CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide, which we consider to be a comprehensible and useful tool for researchers who collect their own data or/and are looking for the right data for their research. Members of our archive have been actively involved in the development of the DMEG, contributing to three of the seven chapters in DMEG (chapters 2, 3 and 7).
- How do you see CESSDA supporting you in 2019?
We have been leading CESSDA Widening activities, as part of the annual work plan, for the last couple of years, which has been a great experience and given us a crucial role within CESSDA in its efforts to maintain and foster a network of CESSDA Partners (aspiring non-member service providers).
This year’s widening meeting will be held in Skopje, North Macedonia, on 5-6 November, and it will focus on challenges CESSDA faces to improve its research infrastructure (including integration with the European Open Science Cloud). Our Director, Jindřich Krejčí, will present our experience in building and strengthening the CESSDA network of partners.
This year, a new support service was set up, as part of CESSDA Widening activities. CESSDA now offers a specific service for data archives that are aiming to join CESSDA. This service offers personalised advice and feedback to specific questions from CESSDA Service Providers and partners. We look forward to assessing the results of this first test year and making improvements next year. The CESSDA mentoring programme also began in 2019, as a way to closely support and encourage aspiring service providers.
We are also looking forward to the CESSDA Training Days on 27-28 November, which will take place in Cologne. This will be a great opportunity to showcase our work in the CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide and to help researchers benefit from its diverse training resources.
Read the last article in this series about Data Centre Serbia for Social Sciences (DCS).