Synergies for Europe’s Research Infrastructures in the Social Sciences (SERISS), aims to equip Europe’s social science data infrastructures to play a major role in addressing the key societal challenges facing Europe today and ensure that national and European policymaking is built on a solid base of the highest-quality socio-economic evidence.
The project brings together leading European Research Infrastructures in the social sciences – the European Social Survey (ESS ERIC), the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE ERIC) and Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA ERIC) – alongside organisations representing the Generations and Gender Programme (GGP), European Values Study (EVS) and the WageIndicator Survey. It aims to exploit potential synergies and overcome existing fragmentation across infrastructures in order to enhance the key role played by these infrastructures, which form the bedrock of empirical social science in Europe.
SERISS aims to foster the strengths and to address the weaknesses of social science infrastructures across three broad themes:
- Addressing key challenges for cross-national data collection
SERISS provides a platform for surveys to collaborate in tackling two key challenges facing cross-national data collection – generating comparable representative samples of the target population and achieving equivalence of meaning across countries through high-quality translation.
- Breaking down barriers between infrastructures
By developing common technological platforms and creating shared online tools and resources SERISS aims to facilitate greater harmonisation of data collection, analysis and curation across social science infrastructures.
- Embracing the future of the social sciences
SERISS embraces the future of social science research characterized by the digital revolution. It will address the challenges and opportunities associated with new forms of data; investigate the possibility of moving survey data collection online; and seek to harness the increasing power of automated text mining for improved data processing.
Specific objectives are:
- to better represent the European population, including important target groups for policy makers such as young unemployed, older persons in institutions and migrants;
- to strengthen cross-national harmonisation of data and methodology across Europe by leveraging recent advances in questionnaire design, translation and coding techniques;
- to exploit the advances in software technology for cost-effective web-based interviewing, more efficient fieldwork management, and to support new ways of collecting data;
- to better connect the world of research-driven social surveys with the world of process-generated administrative data; and
- to ensure that the ethical and data protection concerns of respondents are properly taken into account by creating a consistent and EU-wide framework for all social surveys including new ‘Big Data’.
Work under SERISS is organised into seven substantive work packages plus an eighth work package focusing on project management.