Archive partners on European initiatives

Article dated: 19 March 2011

Archive leaders are taking an active role in collaborating with digital repositories and data organisations across Europe. Here are some of the latest developments.

Preparations are underway to move the Council of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) from a loose cooperative into a new organisation known as CESSDA European Research Infrastructure Consortium (CESSDA ERIC). Compatible with the new European Union (EU) legislation, CESSDA ERIC is a legal entity with its own central unit and some centralised services, joint databases and education.

Funding bodies of 12 of the 17 countries involved in the CESSDA Preparatory Phase Project (CESSDA PPP), including the ESRC, have now signed a memorandum of understanding signalling their intention to become partners of the new organisation and formalising their position on the CESSDA ERIC steering committee. Archive leaders are now attending steering group meetings as the ESRC designated expert.

From spring 2011, the ONS and the UK Data Archive will be partners in a new Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)-funded project, Data without Boundaries, designed to improve access to official statistics across Europe.

The Archive's participation builds on the long-standing relationship between the two organisations and on the ONS’s introduction of the ‘Approved Researcher' designation, which applies to researchers using detailed microdata through the newly established Secure Data Service. This model will provide a basis for similar developments across Europe.

As part of this project, Archive staff will support plans for cross-border sharing of disclosive data by establishing secure work places for researchers wanting access to German data. They will also provide training and consider metadata mappings for resource discovery.

The UK Data Archive is also about to collaborate with the Alliance for Permanent Access through an EU project, Alliance Permanent Access to the Records of Science in Europe Network (APARSEN), under which we will carry out a draft audit against the emerging standard ISO 16363, as part of the establishment of a European framework for audit and certification of trusted repositories.

To achieve this we will conduct a gap analysis against the 104 clauses within the current draft standard. For each clause, we will assess whether the Archive is fully, partially or not compliant with each and will identify the written evidence for our decision on each clause. We will then prepare an action plan for the correction of identified non-conformities to the standard and write a report on lessons learnt for the future benefit of organisations wishing to attain the standard.

Finally, the Archive has partnered on an FP7 project application for the Data Service Infrastructure for the Social Sciences and Humanities (DASISH). The project is designed to address a number of infrastructure issues that are faced by CESSDA and other proposed social science and humanities infrastructures such as the European Social Survey and the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe.