The Irish Research Council announced that Ireland would join CESSDA, the European consortium for promoting the results of social science research. The Irish Social Science Data Archive (ISSDA), which is based in UCD, will act as the Irish national service provider for CESSDA. 

This involves ISSDA integrating data generated in Ireland into the overall research infrastructure of CESSDA. It will also publicise data sets, provide training nationally to the research community on data visualisation, and promote literacy regarding quantitative data.

Speaking at the launch of Ireland’s membership, the Director of the Irish Research Council, Peter Brown described the move as ‘significant,’ as it means Ireland ‘contributes to high-quality research on a European stage, facilitating collaboration and the sharing of ideas between our social science researchers here in Ireland and their peers across Europe.’

Peter Brown added that ‘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.’

Data published by ISSDA have contributed to a lot of social science research in recent years including 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.

The membership announced last week will ensure far more European integration, allowing more access to quantitative studies in the area of Irish social science. It also allows Irish researchers far better access to similar datasets from the other twenty European members.

ISSDA is headed up by the University Librarian and Adjunct Professor of Computer Science and Informatics at UCD, Dr John B Howard. Speaking about the announcement, ‘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.’

Conor Paterson – Co-Editor