status: Recognised & Endorsed

Chair (s): Ron Dekker, Jonathan Crabtree, Steven McEachern

Group Email: [group_email]

Secretariat Liaison: enquiries[at]

Social Sciences & Humanities Research Data Interest Group Proposal 




We are proposing a Social Sciences & Humanities Research Data (SSHRD) Interest Group under the auspices of the Research Data Alliance (RDA), to foster diverse professional exchange on issues particular to data originating from the social sciences and humanities.

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Data cover many disciplines, appear in many data types, deal with multiple objects and levels, and are very distributed – coming from various sources. It could be described as a patchwork quilt, lacking a grand design or focus. On the other hand, it is a way to cover the whole spectrum, to be flexible in collecting data.

There is a huge potential reuse of SSHRD – for researchers, but also for professionals outside universities, for companies, governments, and for citizens.


As a research data community, we are entering the implementation phase of the FAIR principles: we can see first results on Findability – with various catalogues coming available. But for Accessibility, it already complicates as many social data are too sensitive to share directly: access to social sciences research data is not dichotomous: open or closed but requires fine-tuning on making data accessible. For better Interoperability, we need alignment on controlled vocabularies and ontologies, as well as semantic techniques to relate data. 

A barrier for Reuse is lack of clarity in data policies– and their implications for researchers: what are conditions and requirements for providing access, and for using the data. For Reuse, new users want information about the quality and provenance of the data: where do they come from, how were they collected and curated, etc.


Social Science & Humanities Research Data Interest Group Focused Initiatives


This new SSH interest group will begin by helping to coordinate communications across the various current RDA groups of interest to our disciplines and to provide a place for our members to share solutions and concerns with others in our fields. These groups include the FAIRSharing and others noted by Braukmann in the “RDA Overview for the Social Sciences”[1]. We will also seek input and coordinate with the external SSH community leaders and organizations such as CESSDA, DDI Alliance, IASSIST, ICPSR, IFDO and WDS. We will be open and inclusive seeking to use this group to connect the various organizations working to promote SSH data sharing. While this new interest group will certainly be a coordinating group, we also aim to produce new RDA Working Groups to help provide solutions to challenges in our SSH domains. Given the complexity of SSHRD, we feel that the initial focus of our interest group should be very focused on defining working groups of immediate need to our communities. We foresee that to implement FAIR in our disciplines we need to engage all stakeholders: funders, producers, service providers, users; and as a new interest group we want to prioritise on three specific areas focused on the Social Science and Humanities research data communities.


  • quality of data

find automated ways to investigate and provide information on quality

  • data policy

align – and wherever simplify – data policies and their implications for making data available and for using data. 

  • sensitive data

estimates are that over 40% of the data in our community is too sensitive to make them openly available without any restrictions or measures. 


This approach – to engage all relevant parties, and to focus on a limited number of topics – meets the Minimum Viable Ecosystem approach that is used for the EOSC, and has been used in building and expanding platforms, like Apple did (see frame)

In Apple’s case, the MP3 player represented a limited feature set (music only) but established the necessary minimum ecosystem (MVE). Next there was iTunes to add new music. But the big leap happened when they added partners who increased the feature set, moving towards the full rollout: Adding AT&T as a partner expanded the iPod into the iPhone, a more complete feature set. The rest is history. Source:



RDA CURE-FAIR WG: Invitation to attend our session at the RDA Plenary 18

by Limor Peer

We encourage the RDA community to join our session, “Connecting the Dots on Curating for FAIR and Reproducible Research,” at the RDA VP18 Plenary (Wednesday, November 3, 2021, 22:30-00:00 UTC, Breakout 3).   Meeting agenda:
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CESSDA™ Roadshow on COVID-19. Researchers and Social Scientific Data Archives Discuss COVID-19 Data Discovery and Management.

by Marieke Willems

The CESSDA™ Roadshow series kicks off with a deep dive on COVID-19 on 30 September 2021, highlighting cross-national datasets and surveys in the Data Catalogue (CESSDA DC™) with a practical guide and demo on how to discover them.
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RDA Virtual Plenary 18 draft programme now available

by Secretariat Group Account

Dear Group Co-Chairs, The RDA Virtual Plenary 18 (VP18) draft programme is now available: Please note that the Plenary dates have been revised to 3-11 November 2021.
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RDA Virtual Plenary 18 - Notification of Acceptance

by Secretariat Group Account

Dear Chairs of the Social Science Research Data IG, Congratulations! Your RDA Virtual Plenary 18 (VP18) session application titled Data and Metadata Quality in the Social Sciences has been approved by the Technical Advisory Board (TAB). Please consider this your official notification of acceptance.
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RDA VP18 Session Proposal Submission

by Secretariat Group Account

Dear Social Science Research Data IG members, Thank you for your session proposal for Virtual Plenary 18 titled “Data and Metadata Quality in the Social Sciences”. A review of all submitted proposals is now underway by the RDA Technical Advisory Board, with notifications of acceptance planned to be sent by 10 September. Please feel free to contact the RDA Secretariat at ***@***.*** with any questions or concerns you have regarding your submission. Thank you. Regards, RDA Secretariat
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Invitation to Organize a Joint RDA Session during RDA Virtual Plenary 18

by Yasemin Turkyilmaz-van der Velden

Dear colleagues, We are an international team of central research data management structures and data stewards with different scientific backgrounds. For several years we have been supporting research data management at RWTH Aachen University, Delft University of Technology, Health Data Research UK, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, University of Wyoming, Penn State University and Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum.
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Reminder !! RDA for the SDG IG - information, questionnaire and planning of session at 16th plenary

by Ingvill Constanze Mochmann

Dear all, Thanks so much to everyone who has filled in our questionnaire so far and a kind reminder to those who have not done so yet. Deadline is October 16th 2020. Best wishes from the co-chairs Von: Mochmann, Ingvill Gesendet: Donnerstag, 8. Oktober 2020 22:53
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