Social Science Research Data Interest Group Meeting: Connecting Communities!

You are here

24 Jun 2019
Group(s) submitting the application: 
Meeting objectives: 

Our goals for this first meeting are to work to build our membership and outreach to the social science community as well as begin to formulate topics of interest to form new working groups around. We will do this by:

Plan outreach to set up a good corpus of “working” members 

That is, invite new participants – from Social Sciences, but also from adjacent fields, as we have common challenges.


During this first meeting we will also discuss the challenges around determining the quality of data



Depending on the number of participants – we would like to start at least one working group, including terms of reference and first inputs.

Meeting agenda: 

Collaborative session notes: 



Social Sciences Research Data Interest Group 

Agenda SSRD-IG Session 

RDA Plenary Helsinki

90 minutes

Title: Connecting Communities

Our goals are: 

  • Outreach to set up a good corpus of “working” members 

That is, invite new participants – from Social Sciences, but also from adjacent fields, as we have common challenges.

  • Discuss issue around data quality, and – depending on the number of participants – start at least one working group, including terms of reference and first inputs.

The session should encourage discussion; hence presentations will be short, leaving ample room for discussion. The focus is on setting the agenda for the working group(s).

  • Welcome and SSRD Overview & Background: Crabtree 5 min
    • Two Expected Outcomes: Crabtree
  • Discussion on Data Quality 30 min
    • Data Curation for Reproducibility: Crabtree
    • Social Science Data and FAIRisFAIR: Dillo
    • Quality of Microdata: Dekker
  • Discussion 30 min
  • Outreach & Connecting Communities: Dekker 15 min
  • Wrap-Up 10 min
Target Audience: 

Our target audience is primarily the community of social science researchers, scholars, and data specialists.  We view social science very broadly in that many data across many disciplines involve or impact human subjects. 

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

Social Sciences 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 SSRD – 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 sensitiveto 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 Research Data Interest Group Focused Initiatives


This new SSRD 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 SSRD 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 SSRD data sharing. 


We recognize that many of the data formats and methodological approaches our members leverage often intersect with the valuable fields of the Humanities. This is especially the case in the digital humanities and in particular the empirically based digital humanists.  While we do not currently plan to directly address the concerns and needs of this community, we also understand that we have much to learn from each other.  One of the initial tasks we plan will be to reach out to more groups in this community to explore the need for joint working groups and projects we can build collaborations between the social sciences and humanities groups at RDA.


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 SSRD domains. Given the complexity of SSRD, 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 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. 

Short Group Status: 



Chair (s): 

Ron DekkerJonathan CrabtreeSteven McEachern

TAB Liaison: 

Raed Sharif


Type of Meeting: 
Working meeting
Avoid conflict with the following group (1): 
Avoid conflict with the following group (2):