The SODA project team would like to wish you a most happy new year! 2019 is the home stretch for the SODA project. Our feasability study for the establishment of a data archive and service provider for the social sciences in Belgium will yield its final report by the end of the year. This entails several challenges yet also opportunities. On the threshold of Europe 2020 the SODA project will finally deliver a clear roadmap that will guide decision-makers when the time comes to truly launch and sustain the Belgian data archive once the prototype is up and running. The project priorities are the following.
First off, the business model of the future entity – including its structure, organization, functions and services as well as the necessary skills and means – will be completed.
Next, the prototype will need to be fully operational by the end of 2019. It will thus serve as a proof of concept for a social science data archive in Belgium. This entails putting workflows and procedures together, as well as programming software solutions and protocols in order to utilize the State Archives of Belgium’s infrastructure for processing social science data.
Additionally we will tackle the issues related to intellectual property rights, data protection, and confidentiality not only in the face of Belgian law, but also in relation to the open data and open science principles promoted by the European Union.
To this end, the exact terms and conditions for an inter-university cooperation agreements ought to be worked out.
Finally, because there are other actors involved in archiving and disseminating research data in Belgium, we will carry on with our communication strategy so as to reach out to as many potential partners – data providers and consumers alike – as possible.
The SODA project is faced with many challenges in 2019. However nothing less will do, for such is our ambition to set up a data archive and service provider which will support, uphold and sustain research in the social sciences from the stage of data collection to that of data archiving and reusing.