Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives


Purpose and applicability

The purpose of this document is to describes the CESSDA SaW Capability Development Model (CESSDA-CDM). The model will be the basis upon which an assessment of Social Science service provision is made, and can aid in the improvement of the capabilities of existing and future CESSDA service providers. Although the main emphasis of the model is on social science research data, it is applicable for all organisations that has taken on the responsibility to preserve and keep data understandable for the long term, and make it available and accessible for a user community.


The CESSDA-CDM is a structured collection of elements that identify and describe the characteristics of effective preservation processes and activities. Building on established frameworks for trustworthy data preservation and the CESSDA community’s prior experiences, the model provides both a starting point for emerging preservation initiatives and a reference tool for established archives that wants to strengthen their services. It is a model that can be used to appraise and/or improve the capability of a service provider to perform and to provide services.

The model aims at providing a structured view of processes across an organisation (service provider or research infrastructure); it can be used to set process improvement goals and priorities, provide guidance for quality processes and activities, and provide a benchmark for assessing and appraising current practices.

The model focuses on three main subject areas that describe on a high-level, the main objectives and principles of an organisation providing research data preservation services. Part 1-3 addresses these three main areas.