SSIG plenary meeting - Growing international coordination across social science infrastructures

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30 Oct 2022
Group(s) submitting the application: 
Meeting objectives: 

The Social Science Interest Group was endorsed in 2019, in order "to provide a place for our members to share solutions and concerns with others in our fields". In consultation with the community, the group identified three core areas of interest for the focus of the group in it's first phase of activity: data quality, data policy and sensitive data.

The group has now been active for three years, and has contributed to the development of activities across various RDA initiatives aligned with these three areas of interest, including the establishment of the Sensitive Data IG (Plenaries 16-18) and a series of data quality meetings at Plenaries 15 and 18. At Plenary 19, the group focussed on setting the direction for our next phase of activity.

This meeting of the Social Science IG will focus on the first of these next steps - international coordination of social science infrastructures. There are now several major national and cross-national programs and initiatives in the social sciences and related domains, oriented towards support for social science research infrastructure and support.  The session will include contributions from social science infrastructures around the world, such as CESSDA (Europe), ICPSR (USA), ODISSEI (Netherlands), IRISS (Australia), DataFirst (South Africa) and Borealis (Canada).

The focus of this plenary is to introduce the community to these infrastructure investments, and to establish opportunities and mechanisms for coordination of activities across investments.

Meeting agenda: 


Collaborative session notes:


The session will be split into two sections.

In part one, representatives of each invited infrastructure will provide an overview of their organisation, focussed on three issues:

  • Key activities

  • Key challenges

  • Key opportunities for coordination

In part two, the chairs will then facilitate an open discussion with IG members and infrastructure representatives on priority areas for coordination, and establishing a roadmap for future activities on this topic for the IG.


Meeting agenda:

Introduction (5min)

Infrastructure presentations (45 min: 8 x 5 min plus 5 min changeover): ADA, CESSDA, ICPSR, ODISSEI, IRISS, UKDA, DataFirst, Borealis (to be confirmed)

Facilitated discussion (35 min)

Wrap up and next steps: (5 min)

Target Audience: 

Social science researchers

Social science infrastructure providers


Multinational infrastructure providers (e.g. EOSC, GOSC)

Research support providers

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

Following a community consultation meeting, we are now extending activities to include new areas of common interest. The first of these, the focus of this plenary meeting, is on international coordination of social science infrastructure.

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 resumed in Plenary 18

Following a community consultation meeting at Plenary 19 in South Korea, we are now extending activities to include new areas of common interest. The first of these, the focus of this plenary meeting, is on international coordination of social science infrastructure.

Type of Meeting: 
Working meeting
Avoid conflict with the following group (1): 
Avoid conflict with the following group (2): 
Meeting presenters: 
Steven McEachern (chair), Jon Crabtree (chair)