SODHA is a data archive for social sciences and digital humanities in Belgium as well as a service provider that represents our country in the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA).
The aim of SODHA is to ensure the conservation of research data produced by social sciences and digital humanities and to enable their reuse. Researchers can deposit their datasets, which will be preserved in the long term and receive a DOI, making them citable like publications. Thanks to the search engine of the Dataverse software, researchers can search the collections of SODHA and find doumented datasets ready for reuse.
Would you like to deposit or reuse datasets?
Go to the SODHA platform
Mission and Vision
- A data archive is an organization devoted to the preservation and dissemination of research data in various fields of study. Its first objective is to make sure that research data will still be findable and readable several decades into the future. By preserving the fruits of researchers' labor, data archives make it possible for other researchers to re-use this data for various purposes. SODHA stores and preserves in a safe and sustainable way the data produced by researchers working in Belgium, and distributes them on line respecting all legal constrain as privacy and copyright. The security of your data and a rigorous access management are our main concern.
- SODHA is compliant with the FAIR principles which are the basis of an efficient data stewardship: your data are
- Findable: easy to identify and find for both humans and computers, with metadata that facilitate searching for specific datasets
- Accessible: stored for long term so that they can easily be accessed and/or downloaded with well-defined access conditions, whether at the level of metadata, or at the level of the data
- Interoperable: ready to be combined with other datasets by humans or computers, without ambiguities in the meanings of terms and values
- Reusable: ready to be used for future research and to be further processed using computational methods. This requires adequate information about how the data were obtained and processed (provenance) and an appropriate license.
Datasets are assigned Persistent Identifiers (PID), must be accompanied by a sufficient set of standardized metadata and a clear licence.
- Open data reuse: CESSDA promotes the openness of data and their free reuse according to the open data philosophy. The motto is: ‘open if possible, restricted if necessary’.
- SODHA does not just store and distribute research data produced by Belgian research centers: it also represents Belgium as national service provider in CESSDA and cooperates with other European data archives to provide services to the research community at large.
Origins of SODHA
- Belgium has been active in the field of social sciences and international scientific cooperation for a long time. In 1976 it was a founding member of the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA). Belgium was represented by the Belgian Archives for Social Sciences (BASS), which were hosted at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). However political and economic straits led to budget cuts that put a stop to the BASS in 1998.
- But in 2010, Belgium became a member of CESSDA once again when three government research agencies — BELSPO, Vlaams Bestuur - Economie, Wetenschap en Innovatie (EWI), and the Direction générale de l'Enseignement non obligatoire et de la Recherche scientifique (DGENORS, now known as Direction générale de l'Enseignement supérieur, de l'Enseignement tout au long de la vie et de la Recherche scientifique) — signed the Memorandum of Understanding.
- Since then, a team of experts from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and UCLouvain was tasked with devising a business model and procuring a proof of concept by means of a technical prototype of a data archive in Belgium. In 2017, the State Archives of Belgium joined the project as coordinating institution.
CESSDA is an ERIC, a European Research Infrastructure Consortium. It is a network of social science data archives across Europe, with the aim of promoting the results of social science research and supporting national and international research and cooperation. There is one CESSDA service provider in each CESSDA member State.