Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives



Tour of CESSDA - The Danish Data Archive

This series of articles highlight each of CESSDA's national service providers one at a time. We begin 2020 in Denmark.

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

The Danish National Archives have incorporated the Danish Data Archive into their organisation and is currently a national archive which focuses on both paper records, digital records and research data. Our role in CESSDA is to represent the Danish collection of research data and contribute to the development of tools and services for researchers all over Europe, so they can search and use data across borders.

  • When did your country become a member?

The Danish Data Archive has been a member since the very beginning in 1976, when CESSDA was just an informal cooperation. Our membership continued following the organisational change from the Danish Data Archive to the Danish National Archives.

  • What does your organisation bring to CESSDA?

As a national archive we have a tremendous focus on long-term preservation and can therefore share knowledge on the tools and services that we have developed to carry out these tasks. We also bring a slightly different data collection since we have the right to keep personal data and registers, and we share the metadata.

We share our training skills and communication activities with CESSDA. We have a team of dedicated employees in our Data department who are dedicated to the task of “making data findable”. We also use Facebook, LinkedIn, and host events at different universities in order to communicate. Last year we distributed over 1,500 studies thanks to the work of this dedicated team.

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

We are first and foremost part of a large network working with research data, which has many benefits. We can share our knowledge on long-term preservation and at the same time get feedback on our methods and approaches. The network also offers various opportunities for employees to continue their professional development. The most tangible benefit at the moment is that our data is searchable in CESSDA Data Catalogue.

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

The CESSDA Data Catalogue is a fantastic way of broadening the scope of our data collection by making it searchable across Europe with other relevant and important social science data. The size of the collection is very impressive. When we present the CESSDA Data Catalogue to researchers here in Denmark, they are always impressed with the amount of data available across Europe.

We also contributed to the European Language Social Science Thesaurus (ELSST) by making sure Danish terms are translated so researchers can look them up and compare terms across countries and find related terms etc.

The Danish National Archives are also part of the project group behind the European Question Bank and hope that a question bank across borders can benefit the research community in the future.

The CESSDA Vocabulary Service is another of our interests and we will probably use this in the future, when our new IT system is implemented.

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

Making our data findable in the CESSDA Data Catalogue is certainly one of our biggest benefits according to the FAIR principles, but also simply by being part of a community of data archives where tools are built to support the FAIR principles. In this community, we share our efforts in being as FAIR as possible and support each other in specific questions or challenges.

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

We consider the CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide as a valuable resource for researchers who wish to enhance their professional skills in data management and increase the value of their research data. The guide gives researchers an easy, understandable and intuitive framework for conducting proper research data management in the early stages of their research project, as well as provide them with the knowledge of how to make their research data correspond with the FAIR principles.

We make sure to present the resource as a tool whenever we are out engaging with our research community.

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

The “Train the Trainer” events offered as part of CESSDA Training are very popular in our organisation. This is simply because their topics vary from data management, trust in digital repositories and more IT-related themes.

  • How do you see CESSDA supporting you in 2020?

The Danish National Archives are going to build new IT systems this year and we are certainly going to make use of the CESSDA consortium to gain relevant advice, e.g. regarding programmes supporting our metadata standard (Data Documentation Initiative). We consider the IT developer group to be a great resource and we will make sure to consult the CESSDA Technical Working Group for inspiration and ideas.

We also hope to expand our collection in the CESSDA Data Catalogue and create more synergy between our social science data and health data collections.

Read the last article in this series about the Czech Social Science Data Archive.