15 February 2019


EOSC in practice story: Social Data Cloud


Several “EOSC in Practice” Stories have been collected and listed in the EOSC 2ndHLEG report “Prompting an EOSC in Practice” of the High-Level Expert Group on the European Open Science Cloud (2ndEOSC HLEG). The stories demonstrate a practical approach of commitment is made by the 'coalition of doers’. The real-case stories are excellent examples of how sharing open science services across member states and across multi-disciplinary domains have been successfully implemented into real actions. These success stories have, where possible, been woven into the Policy, Governance and Implementation recommendations for the European Open Science Cloud.


CESSDA tells the Social Data Cloud story

SSHOC coordinator CESSDA told the social data cloud story for the report, according to the 8 features raised as prominent aspects for a successful EOSC.




Outstanding features

1. Research fields covered (cross-disciplinarity)

Our Social Data Cloud will offer data, tools and training to scholars who follow a data-driven scientific approach.

It is by nature cross-disciplinary and of interest not only to researchers in the social sciences and humanities but also to those working on societal challenges, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

•  100 000+ studies

•  50 000+ registered users at CESSDA Service Providers

•  500+ people working in CESSDA Service Providers

2. Recognition

A depositor is provided with a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for the dataset that is deposited – a prerequisite to make the data findable, citeable, etc.

CESSDA’s Persistent Identifier Policy (2017) serves as a common basis and contains requirements regarding the use of Persistent Identifiers to which the CESSDA Service Providers comply.

•  A DOI is automatically generated via the self-archiving tools provided.

•  Six principles of the PID Policy relating to identifying, locating, resolving, referencing and citation, visibility and flexibility of each CESSDA Service Provider's data holdings.

•  Best Practice Guidelines provide additional information and guidance on the use and implementation of PID.

3. Multiple Member State collaboration

16 countries are members of CESSDA and one is an observer.

Further cooperation with service providers from ca. 10 other countries as a direct impact of the CESSDA Strengthening and Widening H2020 project.

•  The following entities may become Members or Observers: (a) Member States of the Union; (b) associated countries; (c) third countries other than associated countries; (d) intergovern­mental organizations.

•  CESSDA ERIC is the hub of a distributed research infrastructure.

•  Each member assigns a national Service Provider, or a consortium of providers, to provide CESSDA ERIC services in their country and across Europe.

•  CESSDA ERIC strives for full European coverage and promotes wider participation in its research infrastructure.

4. Trusted services offer

We provide and develop tools & services for the deposit, curation and re-use of data following the FAIR principles and elaborate on safe & secure data access and re-use.

We are renowned for our training covering the whole research life cycle and aimed at both data owners and data users.

We also train and share expertise within CESSDA Service Providers & develop new expertise.

We offer a joint CESSDA Products and Services Catalogue based on standardised metadata to make data Findable.

• Data are Findable and Accessible via the CESSDA Data Catalogue.

• Standardisation of metadata helps ensure that datasets are “findable”

• Common access procedures will be in place, including safe & secure environments for sensitive data.

• Together with research communities, set up and maintain Data Clusters to ensure increased Interoperability and to transition away from a landscape of disciplinary silos.

• Training to increase re-use and to contribute to increased professionalism in data management.

• Tools & Services for multi-lingual questionnaires, common vocabularies, etc.

5. Certification

Comply with the CoreTrustSeal certification, which was launched in 2017 by the Data Seal of Approval & ICSU World Data System.

The CESSDA Trust Support Group supports and advises members and aspirant members in all trust-related issues.

• Ensure that Quality Assurance Procedures are in place for data processing.

• Reliability of the CESSDA Service Providers towards researchers and as trusted repositories for governments and research funders.

6. GDPR compliance

Guidance and tools whether data deposits meet GDPR requirements.

CESSDA, together with other SSH ERICs, investigates consequences for “new types” of data such as social media data and bots.

• CESSDA Expert Seminar 2017 was on “Legal and ethical framework for the use, reuse, and archiving of new types of data”.

• Establishment of a Legal & Ethical Expert Group

7. Sustainability model

CESSDA has an ERIC structure whereby members are obliged to contribute to the CESSDA ERIC budget, to designate a Service Provider, and provide national funding to allow the Service Provider to meet the necessary requirements. On membership - we have a preliminary phase at which we help the country / Service Provider to prepare membership. Membership fees are based on GDP.

• Annual Research & Innovation Budget.

• Widening activities to potential new members.

• Economies of scale on common infrastructures.

• On membership - we have a preliminary phase at which we help the country / Service Provider to prepare membership.

8. User experience

We want to realise an ecosystem where data, tools, and training are available for users of the social science and humanities data.

The focus is on users and user feedback will be gathered for the tools & services and as a general best practice through CESSDA ERIC to ensure transparency and representation.

• CESSDA Training provides direct contact with data depositors and data users.

• Internal training and expert seminars for staff from Service Providers.

• Communication with other Research Infrastructures in Social Sciences and Humanities and with other ERIC’s.


The EOSC Coalition of doers and realising the Social Data Cloud

CESSDA’s overall goal is to bring together the expertise of Service Providers and realise an infrastructure that enables researchers to perform high quality research and that facilitates teaching and learning in the social sciences. CESSDA has joined the ‘coalition of the doers’ of the EOSC and thereby commits to actively supporting the implementation of FAIR data. CESSDA already already realised the “F” (Findable) through the CESSDA Data Catalogue, currently containing over 100 000 studies. CESSDA also launched its online expert tour guide on Data Management to support social science researchers and contribute to increased professionalism in data management.

To realise the Social Data Cloud, where data, tools and training are made available to data users, CESSDA has joined forces with the other social sciences and humanities ERICs (DARIAH, CLARIN, ESS, SHARE) as well as other international organisations. This cooperation is vital to ensure the best possible result for users. It also ensures that the expertise across the field is shared and made available. Moreover, it stimulates multidisciplinary collaboration and has the potential for greater social impact.