Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives



Tour of CESSDA - The Portuguese Archive of Social Information

This series of articles highlight each of CESSDA's national service providers one at a time. Our next destination is Portugal, our member in the Iberian Peninsula.

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

The Portuguese Archive of Social Information (APIS - Arquivo Português de Informação Social) is a scientific infrastructure for the preservation and dissemination of social science data. Based at ICS (Instituto de Ciências Sociais), University of Lisbon, the archive works towards the acquisition and sharing of digital data for the purpose of public consultation, secondary analysis and pedagogical use. The archive comprises a range of datasets provided by research projects from the national scientific community.

At a national level, APIS, together with the national node of the European Social Survey ERIC, form the Production and Archive of Social Science Data (PASSDA) which is part of the Portuguese Roadmap of Research Infrastructures, launched by the national funding agency FCT in 2015. PASSDA is responsible for the production, analysis and archiving of data provided by national and international social sciences studies.

Our role in CESSDA is to represent the Portuguese collection of research data and contribute to the discovery, as well as the reuse of social science data all over Europe. That way researchers and the scientific community can search and reuse data across borders.

  • When did your country become a member?

The Portuguese Archive of Social Information (APIS) was approved as a member of CESSDA at the 2nd General Assembly Meeting of CESSDA ERIC in 2017.

  • What does your organisation bring to CESSDA?

Our contribution to CESSDA has been mainly visible in our participation in its Working Groups. APIS staff working on CESSDA outputs have attended and provided input to various CESSDA events, such as: CESSDA SaW meetings; CESSDA Metadata Office meetings and webinars; and CESSDA Trust Group workshops and meetings (some of them online).

We intend to be more actively engaged in CESSDA activities in the future and share our tools and know-how with the consortium. We will also ensure that more quality social science data and metadata are made available and accessible via the CESSDA Data Catalogue, as for the time being we only have twelve studies in the catalogue.

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

Some benefits for APIS of Portugal being a CESSDA member are:

  • The CESSDA Trust Working Group has supported us in developing our internal procedures by sharing practices and knowledge. Different phases from the OAIS model, such as data acquisition and ingest, would not be as well organised as they are now without the support of other archives within CESSDA. We are also working towards being able to obtain the CoreTrustSeal certification.
  • APIS may hopefully also be involved in the SSHOC Dataverse project, which can bring benefits to our archive in terms of meeting the DDI standard for describing our data. We are also aiming to install Dataverse in our host institution (Instituto de Ciências Sociais) this year.
  • We are able to improve our best practices in research and archiving, as well as gain increased visibility within the scientific community through cooperating with other national service providers.
  • Which CESSDA tools and/or services are of interest to your organisation? (see list online)

We frequently use the CESSDA Vocabulary Service for defining the metadata of studies deposited in APIS. We were involved in the translation of the controlled vocabularies to Portuguese, which will be very useful for social science researchers in Portugal and abroad. With standardised terms in metadata associated with datasets, data from studies become more interoperable and searchable.

The CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide is particularly valuable and we organised a training workshop in our Institute in November 2019 to promote this tool. We have also participated in some train-the-trainer events and Training Group webinars and online meetings.

The CESSDA Data Catalogue is also a service that improves the visibility of our archive and means that the data from social research in Portugal is reusable across Europe.

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

APIS is striving to implement the metadata required by the CESSDA Metadata Model developed within CESSDA. At APIS we support the FAIR Principles and the fact that our studies are searchable in the the CESSDA Data Catalogue means that the data is Findable.

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

The CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide is an essential resource for the archive and also for its researchers. APIS therefore held a training workshop dedicated to data management in November 2019. The CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide helps researchers to develop their data management plans and shows them how to make their research data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). We recommend it regularly both in our institute and on our website.

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

In our host institution (Institute of Social Sciences), we recommend the CESSDA Data Management Expert Guide. We presented this tool from CESSDA in a workshop in November 2019, as mentioned above, that focused on data management plans. The audience evaluated it as very user friendly, clear and advantageous.

We are also grateful for the fact that the Expert Guide is now available offline as are all of its individual seven chapters, as separate PDFs, as this will help trainers use these materials in their classes.

  • How do you see CESSDA supporting you in 2020?

Being part of CESSDA means that we, on the one hand, get to strengthen our skills, and on the other, be better connected to ongoing developments in other European archives and in Brussels. This is of great help to us towards meeting our aim for our archive to become the reference point for researchers in the field of social sciences in Portugal.

During the course of 2020, we will benefit from support to develop our training activities and our metadata, so that we can include more of our data in the CESSDA Data Catalogue.

On 18 March, APIS attended a SSHOC webinar with other Service Providers from CESSDA entitled “Discussion meeting about requirements of CESSDA Service Providers for a Dataverse repository". CESSDA Service Providers have recently been recently discussing the adoption of SSHOC Dataverse. We hope that it can contribute to the European Open Science Cloud.

The CESSDA Trust Working Group continues to support us in our ongoing preparations for applying to the CoreTrustSeal certification. We hope to be able to submit our application this year.

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