Ireland joins leading European group to contribute to social science research data

Posted: 3 November, 2021

UCD-based Irish Social Science Data Archive is appointed national service provider

The Irish Research Council has announced today (03.11.21) Ireland’s membership of CESSDA – the European consortium for promoting the results of social science research and supporting international research cooperation. Ireland joins 21 other countries who will work together to improve European research in the social sciences and expand easy access to data across borders.

Funded by the Irish Research Council, the  Irish Social Science Data Archive (ISSDA), based at University College Dublin, will act as the Irish national service provider for the consortium. It will lead on integrating data generated in Ireland into the overall research infrastructure of CESSDA. ISSDA will also play a significant outreach role in publicising data sets, providing training nationally to the research community on data visualisation, and promoting literacy regarding quantitative data.

Commenting today, Director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown said: “Ireland’s membership of CESSDA is significant as it ensures we are contributing to high-quality research on a European stage and facilitating collaboration and the sharing of ideas between our social science researchers here in Ireland and their peers across Europe.

“Ireland is a leader in high-quality research in the social sciences, and in the age of open research, it is vitally important that this work is recognised and accessible not just nationally, but internationally. With ISSDA at the helm as the national service provider for the consortium, we will solidify our position as part of the European research infrastructure and provide access for social science researchers to thousands of important data sets.”


ISSDA’s Work

Recent publications arising from the use of data made available through ISSDA, include estimating the public service cost of poverty in Ireland; the gendered impact of taxation relief on private pensions; physical activity and emotional-behavioural difficulties in young people; and consumption of free sugar intake in three-year-old Irish preschool children.

In its next phase of development, ISSDA will work towards greater European integration, enabling broader access to quantitative studies of Irish social issues while also facilitating access by Irish researchers to similar data from across the European Union. Work will include participation in the ‘EOSC (European Open Science Cloud) Future’ project, which aims to integrate, consolidate, and connect European e-infrastructures, research communities, and initiatives in open science. In addition, ISSDA will implement new, robust repository services for the management of Irish research data designed to interoperate with the centralised data catalogue of CESSDA and the European Open Science Cloud.

Welcoming the announcement, Head of ISSDA, Professor John Howard, said: “With funding for ISSDA as Ireland’s national service provider for CESSDA, and myself named as National Coordinator, ISSDA is now poised to expand its services, to integrate its technical systems with those of CESSDA, and facilitate broader engagement of Irish social scientists with the vast universe of European social sciences data. I am grateful to the Irish Research Council for its role in supporting ISSDA in the past and into the future.”

Also commenting today, Ron Dekker, Director of CESSDA said: “I am delighted to welcome Ireland’s membership of CESSDA, sponsored by the Irish Research Council. I am also delighted to welcome the Irish Social Science Data Archive as a new National Service Provider for CESSDA. I am sure that being a part of the CESSDA community will contribute to their mission in several meaningful ways for researchers. By being a part of CESSDA, Ireland’s social science community is joining forces with over twenty European counterparts. It will be able to share its expertise, learn from others and participate in internal and European funded projects. The CESSDA Data Catalogue will make sure that Irish quantitative datasets and international comparative studies are findable and reusable for researchers abroad. Welcome on board!”

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