Data and Metadata Quality in the Social Sciences

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06 Aug 2021
Group(s) submitting the application: 
Meeting objectives: 

This is a proposed regular meeting of the Social Science Interest Group. The intent of the meeting is to further the third of the IG's core areas of activity - data quality. To this end, we are convening an information and engagement session exploring data and metadata quality issues in the social sciences and related disciplines, bringing together key stakeholders in social sciences infrastructure and official statistics, along with other EOSC domain areas including ELIXIR (life sciences) and ENVRI (environmental sciences).

Our proposed outcome of the session are the development of a working group across multiple interest groups, to work on the following proposed activities:

  1. Conceptualisation and definition of data and metadata quality

  2. Understanding the dimensions of data and metadata quality

  3. Establishing a working group on data quality within and across domains

Meeting agenda: 

Collaborative session notes:

Introduction (5 min)

Introduction to the SSIG and the data quality program for the group.


Data quality in the social sciences (20 min)

  1. Data quality in official statistics (Statistics Canada - to be confirmed)

  2. Quality assessment in international social science data projects - the International Social Survey Programme (Steven McEachern, ANU)

  3. Quality review and curation for reproducible and FAIR research (Limor Peer, Yale University and Thu-mai Christian, University of North Carolina)


Metadata quality (20 min)

  1. The CESSDA Metadata Office (Carsten Thiel - CESSDA Main Office, Norway)

  2. New data types and metadata extraction developments (Mari Kleemola, Finnish Social Science Data Archive, Finland )

  3. FAIRsFAIR and F-UJI demonstration (Ingrid Dillo, DANS, Netherlands)


Development of quality assurance in other domains (20 min)

  1. Data quality in the earth and environmental sciecnes (Barbara Magnana - ENVRI - to be confirmed)

  2. Health/Life Sciences - BY-COVID and COVID-19 integrating projects (Katharina Lauer - Elixir)


Breakout discussion 20 min (3 groups)


Outcomes and next steps 10 min

Our proposed outcomes are the development of a working group across multiple interest groups, to develop the following proposed outputs:

  1. Conceptual paper: Defining data and metadata quality

  2. Conceptual paper: Dimensions of data and metadata quality

  3. Establishing a working group on data quality within and across domains


Target Audience: 

Social science researchers, social science infrastructure providers, research community members with interests in data quality, research data management specialists.

Group chair serving as contact person: 
Brief introduction describing the activities and scope of the group: 

The Social Sciences Interest Group works to coordinate communications across the various current RDA groups of interest to the social science 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". We coordinate with external social sciences and humanities (SSH) community leaders and organizations such as CESSDA, DDI Alliance, IASSIST, ICPSR, IFDO and WDS, and use this group to connect the various organizations working to promote SSH data sharing.

The SSIG acts as a coordinating group, but also aims to produce new RDA Working Groups to help provide solutions to challenges in our SSH domains. Given the complexity of social science research data, The initial focus of our interest group has been on defining working groups of immediate need to our communities. We recognise that to implement FAIR in our disciplines we need to engage all stakeholders: funders, producers, service providers, users; and as an interest group we have prioritised three specific areas focused on the Social Science research data communities.

  • 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. 

  • quality of data: find automated ways to investigate and provide information on quality

Short Group Status: 

The Social Science Interest Group was established from initial discussions at the RDA Plenary 12 in Botswana. The proposed group and draft charter of the SSIG was presented at RDA Plenary 13 in Philadelphia, with the IG charter approved and the first formal meeting of the endorsed group at RDA Plenary 14 in Helsinki. Subsequently the group has furthered the three core areas of interest through engagement in subsequent meetings and working groups;

  • data policy: established in the activity program at Plenary 14.

  • sensitive data: contribution to and co-chairing of the Sensitive Data Interest Group, proposed at Plenary 17

  • quality of data: the initial planning for this activity occured in preparation for the cancelled meeting at Plenary 15, and resumes as part of this meeting

Type of Meeting: 
Informative meeting
Avoid conflict with the following group (1): 
Meeting presenters: 
Steven McEachern (chair), Ron Dekker (chair), Jon Crabtree (chair), plus presenters as described in meeting agenda