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Regional Report 2007-2008: Europe

IASSIST Regional Report 2007-2008
European Region
Mari Kleemola
Finnish Social Science Data Archive
May 22nd, 2008 (ver 0.4)

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. I have only included reports for those people/organisations/countries/projects from whom I have received information.

All in all, seems that the Europeans (at least in the field of data archiving) have had their share of organisational changes. To mention but a few: the Swiss archive SIDOS is now part of FORS (Swiss Foundation for Research in Social Sciences) as of January 1, 2008; in Sweden, the position as director of the Swedish National Data Services was announced; In German, ZA is now part of GESIS.

Cross European Collaborations

CESSDA PPP | ESS

CESSDA PPP

The CESSDA PPP, Preparatory Phase Project for a Major Upgrade of the Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) Research Infrastructure, is a major new award totalling 2.7 million euros aimed at developing the Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) research infrastructure (RI), and is a direct result of the CESSDA RI being identified by the ESFRI Roadmap as an existing pan-European RI recommended for a major upgrade. This project is possible due to an award from an EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) call specifically targeted at providing a preparatory phase for RIs recognised within the ESFRI Roadmap process.

The aim of the project is to plan the future development of the CESSDA RI and focus on tackling and resolving a number of strategic, financial and legal issues in order to ensure that European social science and humanities (SSH) researchers have access to, and gain support for, the data resources they require to conduct research of the highest quality, irrespective of the location of either researcher or data within the European Research Area (ERA). The research is be led by Professor Schürer, Director of the UKDA, who is the Co-ordinator for the project.

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 3 data (collected in 2006/2007; themes: Personal and Social Well-being and Timing of Life) was released in autumn 2007 and is freely available from the NSD/ESS website.

In April 2008, ESS Edunet, a training resource mainly developed for use in higher education, launched a new module on the subject of family, gender and work.

National Reports

Finland | Hungary | The Netherlands | Sweden | United Kingdom

Finland

The Finnish universities are going through a major structural transformation. The extensive higher education reform is being implemented by the Ministry of Education. According to its programme, the Government will increase the financial and administrative autonomy of universities. separating the universities partly from the state economy. In this connection, university governance and decision-making will also be reformed.

For the Finnish Social Science Data Archive (FSD), the year was succesful. The number of data access applications is growing, and the number of archived studies is approaching one thousand. Students are a significant user group; first time ever, the Annual Prize for the Best Master's Thesis in Sociology in Finland was awarded to a thesis based on data archived at the FSD. The FSD Bulletin offered a glance at archiving and reusing qualitative material. We also produced instructions to researchers and students on topics such as research ethics, designing the data collection, and informing participants.

FSD continued 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, and preparations for hosting the IASSIST 2009 conference are in full flow.

Hungary

Zoltán Lux writes:

The Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution
The database and related Internet provision of publications, films, websites and conferences prepared for the 50th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution was compiled (www.rev.hu/reviews).

The first phase of exploring the life’s work of major photographers resident in Hungary was completed with support from the Specialist Photography Council of the National Cultural Foundation. This covered the work of six photographers (2500 photographic document, life interviews, and digital archiving of these). The research content open to the public can be read on the www.rev.hu/photographers.

Historical Archives of the Hungarian State Security
A public photography database (https://www.abtl.hu/spyOne/login?R) was started on the Internet for the archives that store the document of the state-security services in the socialist period (www.abtl.hu).

Documents containing a great deal of sensitive information are being kept closed in an internal database for the time being. However, researchers with a research permit may see some of the meta-data for the internal database on the Internet under the archives’ enhanced security conditions.

A start has been made to transferring the poorer-quality documents to high-density OCR (using a character-recognition program to retrieve the textual content) and entering this in a database. The large quantity of textual information available will provide a basis for further social scientific and archival researches.

Nógrád County Archives
The third phase of the Digital Library development at Nógrád County Library (www.nogradarchiv.hu) has been completed. This has augmented the existing library system (fond registers, medieval documents, institutional minutes, electronic library, web archive, chronology, list of place names) with storage of registry personal data.

Developments affecting several archives
Development of a common archiving system by the Hungarian National Library, the Budapest Capital City Library and the Pest County Library is intended with the archive registration and provision facility for electronically generated documents.

The Netherlands

Laurents Sesink writes:

In Netherlands, the first stage of the Datakeurmerk seal of approval (www.datasealofapproval.org) became available for use by researchers in the social sciences and humanities. The seal of approval guarantees that data from scientific research are filed in such a way that they will remain usable for a long time. This first version of the Datakeurmerk contains seventeen guidelines that data producers, data consumers and data archives must follow in order to deserve the label ‘future-proof’.

Open access (limitations apply to guarantee the privacy of respondents and the intellectual rights of depositors) constitutes the starting point for the conditions under which files are archived, consulted or provided at DANS. On January 1, 2007 all Statistics Netherlands data accessible through DANS became available to researchers free of charge. At the end of the year, also a few basic files of the Cadastral Register (Topographical Services) became freely available for research purposes. The new DANS EASY (Electronic Archiving SYstem, http://easy.dans.knaw.nl/dms), which allows researchers to archive and download files independently, became operational in 2007. After 2,5 years DANS (DANS started in 2005) went through an intern evaluation process. The mid term evaluation is expected to be positive.

DANS was in the year of the report involved in the following projects:

  • All awarded medium-sized NWO projects (investments) in the humanities (EDNA II - Taking the electronic archive for Dutch Archaeology to the next level; Hub for Aggregated Social History (HASH). Toward an integrated infrastructure for Dutch municipal data, 1812 - 2000; Data infrastructure for the study of guilds and other forms of corporate collective action in pre-industrial times);
  • Awarded startup grants for data projects, with technical advice and support being supplied to the digital 'collaboratorium' Cultural-Heritage Dendrochronology for the Low Countries and to Medieval Memoria Online (MeMO): construction and dynamics of religious social memory; stock-taking, description and supply of text and images with a function in the memoria in the Middle Ages;
  • The ESFRI roadmap projects Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH), Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) and Common Language Resources and Technology Infrastructure (CLARIN);
  • The R&D project Migration to Intermediate XML for Electronic Data (MIXED), financed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (PRIMA/SenterNovem);
  • The ‘Alfageo’ project, financed by the innovation program ‘Ruimte voor Geo-Informatie’, to stimulate the use of geodata in the humanities;
  • The Dutch e-science project ‘Big Grid’, in which DANS is working on grid archiving;
  • The National Coalition for Digital Preservation', in cooperation with the National Library and other parties;
  • A number of ‘Small Data Projects’, aimed at describing important data sets, feasibility studies, pilots and explorations in the area of new ways of archiving research data or making them accessible;
  • The development and implementation, in cooperation with Surf and all the Dutch universities of a National Resolver for Persistent Identifiers based on urn’s.

Furthermore, agreements were made with the project ‘Panel Study of Social Dynamics in the Netherlands’, financed by NWO-Maatschappij en Gedragswetenschappen, regarding archiving of and access to the data; the data of the Housing Investigation Netherlands (VROM) became accessible through EASY; a data contract was entered into with the Scientific Research and Documentation Centre WODC for archiving of and access to WODC data and large data collections of academic researchers, such as the most recent Dutch National Survey of Voters, were made available. In addition, stock-taking of data was started or continued in the areas of psychology, visual culture, language & text, and geodata.

Slovenia

Janez Stebe writes:

Tenth anniversary of the ADP was an occasion for institutional presentation material redesign and promotional campaign. We concluded a cooperation with WISDOM on processing a "Households, Work and Flexibility 2001" international study, which is available in our holding. Transfer of metadata study descriptions from ADP catalogue to a Common Slovene libraries catalogue is completed. This year is new call for infrastructure and research long-term programmes in Slovenia now open and we reapplied, now waiting for results. We are applying on another call on "National open data road map support study". And we are active in a few WP in CESSDA PPP project.

Sweden

Iris Alfredsson writes:

At the end of 2006 the Swedish Research Council invited all Swedish universities to apply for hosting the Swedish National Data Service (SND). In competition with four other universities the University of Gothenburg was appointed host university, and an agreement between the Research Council and the university was signed in November 2007. SND will take over the operation of the current Swedish Social Science Data Service (SSD) and extend its scope to cover databases in social sciences, medicine, and the humanities. SND is governed by a steering board and by a national reference group. The board of SND consists of national representatives for the above sciences, some of which are appointed by the Swedish Research Council, and some by the national reference group.

United Kingdom

Melanie Wright writes:

The major award from the Economic and Social Research Council for the running and management of the Economic and Social Data Service has been extended for a further five years (Oct 2008 to Sep 2012).

UKDA’s 40th anniversary celebrations took place in 2007.

Several interesting projects are ongoing: for example DeXT (explores the feasibility of developing data exchange models and data conversion tools for primary research data collected in the course of empirical research); RELU-DSS (ensures that all data management activities are carried out effectively within projects, and that data are offered for archiving and sharing where possible at a UK data centre); STORE (aims to provide use cases, guidelines and tools for the integration of data archives with repositories of research publications); and Census Registration Service (CRS) and Census Portal (enhances access to, and the understanding and use of, the census data resources).

The Economic and Social Research Council (via their National Data Strategy, http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/nds/) are in the course of planning a number of new initiatives. These include the Survey Research Network (in part a replacement for the Question Bank), a Secure Data Service for the dissemination of disclosive microdata in secure settings and an Administrative Data Service (advising researchers on the availability and possibility of accessing admistrative data). Equally, the Medical Research Council has annouced its decision to create a new Data Dissemination Service. The UKDA maybe involved in implementation of these, and linking them to the ESDS over the coming year.

Ken Miller writes:

UKDAStore, a new research output management tool is to be launched mid-year. UKDAStore is a self-archiving repository capturing ESRC funded datasets that don't get accepted and enhanced by the UKDA. This links with the ESRC publications repository (Society Today) making links between data sources, data outputs and publications; based on the StORe (Source to Outputs) project. The project has been extended to investigate the transfering citations of data and publications between repositories. Hence a publication uploaded into an institutional repository citing a UKDA dataset will have the publication cited at the UKDA. The citations of a publication uploaded into one institutional repository will have its own citation transfered to all the repositories holding the citations.

Robin Rice writes:

IASSIST members at the Universities of Edinburgh, Oxford, Southampton and the London School of Economics have been collaborating on the DISC-UK DataShare project, pioneering new models for institutional data repositories and support services for sharing data (http://www.disc-uk.org/datashare.html).

EDINA is setting up a restricted access data repository for sharing geospatial data (ShareGeo) so that license restrictions on Ordnance Survey derived datasets can be observed, by only sharing with members of other licensed institutions, e.g. those who have a Digimap subscription. Much more information about EDINA's activities in bibliographic and multimedia services, Geo-data services, scholarly communication and learning & teaching can be found in its community report (http://edina.ac.uk/about/annrep/communityreportMarch08.pdf).

The University of Edinburgh, along with 4 other funded institutions, are piloting implementations of a new Data Audit Framework being developed in partnership with the Digital Curation Centre to assist institutions in providing services for data storage, management and curation to their researchers. (http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/digitalrepositories2007/dataauditframework.aspx)

The Edinburgh University Data Library is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

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