ISSDA appointed national service provider as Ireland joins CESSDA - Europe's social science research consortium

Posted 15 November 2021

Peter Brown, IRC Director, Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact, and Professor John Howard

The Irish Social Science Data Archive (ISSDA), based at UCD Library, will act as the national service provider to CESSDA, the European consortium for promoting social science research.

Earlier this month, Ireland formally joined the network of 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 (IRC), ISSDA will lead on integrating data generated in Ireland into the overall research infrastructure of CESSDA, while also playing a significant outreach role in publicising data sets, providing training on data visualisation, and promoting literacy regarding quantitative data.

“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,” said Professor John Howard, ISSDA Head.

“I am grateful to the Irish Research Council for its role in supporting ISSDA in the past and into the future.”

ISSDA has provided the social sciences and public health communities with access to Irish research data for more than two decades, supporting socially impactful research that informs public policy across social policy generally and public healthcare more specifically.

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 European Open Science Cloud Future’ project, which aims to integrate, consolidate, and connect European e-infrastructures, research communities, and initiatives in open science.

“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,” said Peter Brown, Director of the Irish Research Council.

“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.”

Ron Dekker, Director of CESSDA added: "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.”

By: David Kearns, Digital Journalist / Media Officer, UCD University Relations