Regional Report 2008-2009: Europe

IASSIST Regional Report 2008-2009 European Region

Mari Kleemola
Finnish Social Science Data Archive
June 12, 2009

Cross European Collaborations | National Reports

This report begins with some observations on cross-national collaborations, after which will be country-by-country reports of national/institutional/individual activities.

Cross European Collaborations

CESSDA and CESSDA PPP | ESS | EDAN | Bremen Workshop | DDI Training at Dagstuhl | Other


The two-year CESSDA PPP, Preparatory Phase Project for a Major Upgrade of the Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) Research Infrastructure, is in one of its busiest working periods. Much has been achieved since the project began in January 2008. Details of the project’s many activities can be found on the CESSDA PPP website.

CESSDA Expert Seminar was held in Odense, Denmark. In the seminar, European data archiving professionals exchanged views on good practices in producing metadata, an issue where data archives have plenty in common. Metadata and application development requires and accumulates experience worth sharing with others.

In December 2008, CESSDA, EUROSTAT and ONS held a joint workshop thats ought ways to improve availability of microdata collected for statistical purposes. Details of the event, including workshop presentations, are available from the EUROSTAT website.

European Social Survey (ESS)

The European Social Survey (ESS) is an academically-driven social survey designed to chart and explain the interaction between Europe’s changing institutions and the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of its diverse populations. The survey covers over 25 European nations and employs rigorous methodology. Round 4 fieldwork was completed in December 2008, and the data will be released in September 2009. Edition 1.0 of the cumulative data file for the first three rounds of the ESS was released in October 2008 and is freely available from the NSD/ESS website.

East European Data Archive Network (EDAN)

Brigitte Hausstein writes:

In 2008 several data archiving organisations from Central and Eastern Europe became associated partners of the ongoing CESSDA PPP. The strategic work on widening the CESSDA ERI includes the collaboration with representatives from the following organisations: the Slovakian Data Archive (SASD), the Polish Data Archive (ADS), the Lithuanian Data Archive (LiDA), the Latvian Data Archive (LSZDA) and Russian Data Archive (RSDA) as well as from data archive initiatives in Bulgaria, Croatia, Ukraine, Macedonia, and Belarus. In order to collect country specific information and to discuss the needs and expectations regarding the future CESSDA ERI a workshop with potential new members was organised. Additionally, onsite visits in the countries were carried out to meet with national stakeholders of social science research and funding organisations. The collected information will contribute to the strategic and operational plan to widen the existing CESSDA ERI.

Bremen Workshop, April 2009

Libby Bishop writes:

Bremen Workshop: Qualitative Longitudinal Research and Qualitative Resources in Europe: Mapping the Field and Exploring Strategies for Development

This one-day international workshop brought together researchers and archivists with an interest in the re-use of qualitative data, and in the development of qualitative longitudinal research and data resources across Europe. The workshop was organized as a collaborative venture between the UK Data Archive, the Timescapes Qualitative Longitudinal Study and Archive, and the Bremen Life Course Archive, with support from the Council for European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA). Fourteen countries were represented at the event.

The participants agreed to form a network and to take forward key initiatives around qualitative data sharing. Immediate tasks are to publish (tentatively in IASSIST Quarterly IQ) the reports prepared on each country on the state of qualitative archiving including inventories of qualitative longitudinal resources. There is also agreement to collaborate in seeking funding for subsequent meetings, exchange programmes, workshops on setting up an archive, and other activities.

DDI Training at Schloss Dagstuhl

DDI 3.0 training, sponsored by German Social Science Infrastructure Services, Centre for Survey Research and Methodology (GESIS-ZUMA), was offered at Schloss Dagstuhl, Leibniz Center for Informatics, in November 2008. The workshop brought together staff from various (mainly European) archives and data producing agencies. The multi-day structure of the workshop provides participants with an opportunity for in-depth assistance on the specialized features of DDI that are important to their organizations’ activities.

DDI training will be offered again at Dagstuhl in October 2009, and the first European DDI User Group meeting (EDDI 09) will take place in December in Bonn.

Other Networks

During the last years, several professional networks that engage in collaborative projects on issues such as data sharing and metadata, have emerged. European projects and networks in this field are, for example; the following:

National Reports

Denmark | Finland | France | Norway Slovenia | Sweden | United Kingdom


(Reported by Anne Sofie Fink Kjeldgaard)

In 2008 DDA introduced two new facilities for finding studies in our holdings. Apart from the ‘traditional’ search catalogue the users can search for studies and/or questions in our Question Database. The users can search for phrases or wordings in questions and from the query result make instant comparisons or go directly to the full question text and response categories. The other new feature is to find a data material by looking at its topic. DDA has mapped all the studies according to the Cessda topic classifications. In this way it is possible to find the holdings related to the wanted topic. Both of these new facilities will be supplied with new search features in 2009.

In October 2008 a seminar with the title “Data Preservation and Data sharing: Regulations, practices and recommendations” was arranged. At the seminar 35 Danish and international researchers had the opportunity to meet and discuss best practices for archiving and data sharing.

2008 was also the year were a external panel evaluated the results and methods of the DDA Health unit. As a bottom line conclusion the evaluation group endorsed a carefully monitored continuation of the activities for another five year period including a renewed evaluation. The full evaluation report can be read at

In January 2009 senior researcher Hans Jørgen Marker could look back on his 25 years of employment in DDA. The day was celebrated in DDA at a pleasant reception with Hans Jørgens’ colleagues, family, friends and business relations.

During 2008/9 DDA has been working on developing an editor for the DDI standard based on the Eclipse Rich Client Platform with a default back end backed by the Oracle Berkley XML database. The project is based on two modules: a back end responsible for handling, query and CRUD operations of DDI and a front end providing the user interface. The back end is capable of handling other storage types such as relational databases or XML querying APIs. The front end and the back end are both pluggable through the Eclipse RCP. The development work is carried out as a contribution to the DDI Tools Project.


For the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD), the year was succesful. The number of data access applications grew, as well as the number of archived studies, and FSD participates actively in the data collection of some international survey series such as ISSP, CSES, and WVS/EVS.

FSD has put in a lot of effort and time to promote awareness of research ethics related to research data and data management in the Finnish academic community. As a result, FSD staff have lectured and consulted on these issues, as well as participated in establishing a new kind of research culture in Finland, sensitive to data security, data sharing and preservation. Starting this year, the Academy of Finland requires researchers applying for funding to submit a data management plan as part of the research plan appended to the funding application, and recommends depositing social science data in the Finnish Social Science Data Archive.

In addition, three open access web resources developed by FSD have become important sources to social science research and teaching. 1) Research methods Web resource (MOTV) is widely utilized in research methods courses and students’ self-directed learning in universities. 2) The research ethics web resource supports FSD’s work on promotion of sensitiveness to data security and data sharing. It offers information on the rights of research participants and how researchers should inform participants. Parts of this resource are also available in English: 3) The Party Manifesto Database (POHTIVA) includes over 800 manifestos from 57 political parties from the years 1880-2008. (Pohtiva is available in Finnish and partly in Swedish.)

Recently FSD was listed among the 24 research infrastructures at the national level in Finland by the Steering Group of the first Finnish road map project (Report in English FSD is also represented in the project of developing Finnish national digital library and continues to actively co-operate with several national units (like Statistics Finland, National Advisory Board on Ethics, and Finnish Information Centre for Register Research). FSD is also a partner in the CESSDA PPP.


(Reported by Benoit Tudoux)

The French roadmap of research infrastructures has been published. It includes 4 infrastructures for humanities and social sciences. PROGEDO project will cover Data archives ie Réseau Quetelet for France and support to CESSDA as ERI, remote access, longitudinal surveys and international surveys including ESS and SHARE.

Réseau Quetelet and its partners (ADISP, CDSP and INED) are currently involved in the CESSDA PPP, especially leading the WP10. In this perspective Quetelet has purchased NESSTAR for all partners. ADISP and INED will begin use NESSTAR while CDSP will extend its use.

The new Quetelet portal will soon open with new functionalities allowing on line registeration for users. Cooperation with the National Statistical Office INSEE for remote access pilot is going on and will be developed.

Partners of Quetelet are also involved in major European and international surveys. ADISP is in charge of the French survey of the ISSP programme. Members of CDSP are part of the French team in charge of the European social survey and have actively participated in the 4th round of this survey. INED is still pursuing work on old datasets to disseminate them (more than 200 surveys held). It is also involved in the Generation and Gender Program for which NESSTAR will be used for access.

ADISP is in charge of the dissemination of Eurostat datasets (LFS, ad hoc modules, ECHP, SILC) for all European research institutions members of the European network EQUALSOC.

A second University Platform of Data have been created in Lyon. It is designed to help in data processing researchers, and PhD or Master students from universities and research units of Lyon.


(Reported by Atle Alvheim)

New interesting Norwegian projects include, among others, the following two:

Eurosphere: This is an EU-financed project whose object is to identify new types of public spheres that promotes political involvement of European citizens. The project involves 17 partners in 16 countries. NSD is developing and administring the Eurosphere Knowledge base, which differs from most data portals in that the data to a large extent will be qualitative in nature and consist of interviews with leading political and administrative personnell.

MacroDataGuide: The availability of macrodata has increased greatly in recent years. However, locating such data sources present a challenge. To assist researchers in their hunt for good international macrodata NSD has launched the MacroDataGuide. The service provides overviews, quality evaluations, useful links, metadata, descriptions of functionality, etc. NSD updates the guide regularly.


(Reported by Janez Stebe)

Arhiv Druzboslovnih Podatkov, Univerza v Ljubljani (ADP) has had a succesful year. Number of datasets is approaching 600, and number registered users 200. Funding for ADP was secured for period 2009-2014 on a research infrastructure call, and new series of seminars for users on data and statistical literacy topics introduced in 2008. ADP is also active in CESSDA PPP project.


(Reported by Iris Alfredsson)

In 2007 the Swedish Research Council decided that a new organization, the Swedish National Data Service (SND) should replace the Swedish Social Science Data Service (SSD) and extend its scope to cover social sciences, medicine, and the humanities. The new organization formally started 1 January 2008. However, SSD performed the operational tasks during the first six months of 2008. In January SSD/SND moved into new premises in the Gegerfeltska villa in the center of Gothenburg. SND became administratively located under the faculty of education, while SSD earlier was located under the faculty of social sciences.The SND board met for the first time in April 2008. The board consists of five researchers from the fields of social sciences, humanities and medicine. Most of the SSD staff was transferred to the new organization 1 July 2008. At the same time SSD was closed down, and the SSD data collection and equipment were taken over by SND. A director was appointed, and took office 1 September. A strategic plan for 2008-2012 was drawn up and presented for the Research Council in October. During the autumn the new organisation was presented at several conferences and workshops. At the end of the year a scientific council was formed. The council consists of fifteen people representing different areas, both nationally and internationally. Due to illness the newly appointed director had to leave her position at the end of the year.

During the year the Swedish Research Council launched the SIMSAM initiative. The purpose is to stimulate a new generation of researchers and research leaders within disciplines that can make the best use of the data on Swedish registers. A number of research groups received contributions, where the aim should be to produce world-class research within all disciplines where the data on population-based registers is an important source for research. The initiative is expected to lead to improved and expanded use of registers in research and expansion of knowledge of how research with registers is organised inside Sweden and internationally. Each research group working with registers should be given an independent and strong position within its host university or university college. Each group will be expected to commence undertaking new, register-based research that produces synergetic effects outside its own environment.

At the end of 2008 it was decided that SMHI, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute would host a new organisation focused on climate and environmental data, SND climate/environment.

United Kingdom

Robin Rice writes:

The DISC-UK DataShare project (2007-2009), led by EDINA and the Edinburgh University Data Library, with partners at the Universities of Southampton and Oxford, has advanced the current provision of repository services for accommodating datasets in the UK. With three institutions taking part, a range of exemplars has emerged from the establishment of institutional data repositories and related services based on open source platforms. The approach took a major turn midway through when an apparent solution to the problem of lack of voluntary deposits arose, in the form of the Data Audit Framework. Briefing papers, conference presentations, posters, the blog and website ( drew attention to key themes including data publishing, open data and licensing issues, data management, scientific metadata, policy development, disciplinary differences and country comparisons. Key conclusions: 1) Data management motivation is a better bottom-up driver for researchers than data sharing but is not sufficient to create culture change, 2) Data librarians, data managers and data scientists can help bridge communication between repository managers & researchers, 3) institutional repositories can improve impact of sharing data over the internet.