Note: the DAG is under development.


The DAG is designed to support the work of employees of data repositories, libraries, and others who curate data by providing a general understanding of a broad range of activities that a data repository performs. The DAG was developed for and by employees of social science data archives, however, most of the information applies to other archives as well and is equally useful for archiving professionals from other disciplines.

The archives that have contributed to DAG vary widely - in size, in the underlying technical architecture, or in the specific services provided to researchers - the DAG focuses on common ground and is a useful tool for professionals new to data archiving or those who are knowledgeable in one area and now seek to broaden their expertise.   

In this guide, you will learn what a data archive is, what it does, and how data archives play an important role in the scientific infrastructure. After reading the DAG, you will have a basic understanding of the working procedures of a data archive and you will also be familiar with the most common policies that a data archive needs, and with what FAIR data means in practical terms. 

Organisation of the DAG

The DAG is organized into several chapters, but you do not have to read the information in a specific order. Rather you can use the different chapters of the DAG as a resource to find information about specific issues that you are encountering or questions you may have. Reading the DAG from beginning to end takes about four hours.

The first chapter of the DAG “Data Archives - a Quick Introduction” uses basic important questions to provide an overview of the purposes data archives fulfill and their mission, function and ways of operating. All these sections have been brought together in a downloadable pdf (CESSDA, 2020a) and Word file (CESSDA, 2020b).

The second chapter of the DAG focuses on “Policies of Data Archives” and describes the most common policies a social science data archive has in place.  These include policies about Data Acquisition, Data Preservation, Data Access and others.  For each policy, some description is offered as its usefulness, as well as examples, and further resources.

The third chapter explains Pre-ingest, and focuses on what data archives do to ensure that the incoming data meet the criteria of data collection and quality requirements before the data are accepted in the archive for further curation and preservation.

The fourth chapter follows on into the Ingest phase and describe what steps are necessary to guarantee high quality data, documentation material and metadata so that they can be archived.

The fifth chapter re-introduces the FAIR principles and as well as the concept of trustworthiness, and explains how these qualities can be reflected within data archives both internally and in services to designated communities.

Background and future plans

The Data Archiving Guide has been created for CESSDA ERIC by a number of its service providers' experts at ADP, AUSSDA, CSDA, DANS, DNA, FORS, GESIS, NSD (Sikt), SND and  So.Da.Net.  The information in the DAG was  written and prepared by experts from these and other CESSDA social science data archives and reflects the procedures and policies at their local archives. The topics for chapters have been selected with input from members of the CESSDA Training Group and from the leaders of CESSDA Working Groups. 

The project launched in 2020 and now has five chapters. A chapter on Replication Services and a Glossary will be completed by the end of 2023.


What is CESSDA?

The Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) is a network of European social science data archives. It serves as a platform for the development of European integrated data services based on broad collaboration among national social science data archives across Europe. Read more about the benefits of archiving in CESSDA archives in 'DMEG - Chapter 6 Archive & Publish' (CESSDA Training Team, 2017 - 2020).

Archives that are part of CESSDA are listed on the CESSDA website here.




The Data Archiving Guide by CESSDA ERIC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. All material under this license can be freely used, as long as CESSDA ERIC is credited as the author.


CESSDA Training Team (2020). CESSDA Data Archiving Guide version 1.0. Bergen, Norway: CESSDA ERIC.

Authors and Contributors

Bezjak Sonja | Slovenian Social Science Data Archives (ADP)

Bishop Libby | GESIS Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences

Chylikova Johana | Czech Social Science Data Archive (CSDA)

Ferguson Kim | Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)

Frentzou Christina  | Greek research infrastructure for the social sciences (So.Da.Net)

Heider Veronika | The Austrian Social Science Data Archive (AUSSDA)

Henriksen Gry | Norwegian Center for Research Data (NSD)

Ilze Lace | Swedish National Data Service (SND)

Iris Butzlaff | The Austrian Social Science Data Archive (AUSSDA)

Kappeler Marielle Swiss | Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences (FORS)

Kondyli Dimitra | Greek research infrastructure for the social sciences (So.Da.Net)

Leenarts Ellen | Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)

Lomazzi Vera | GESIS Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences

Masten Sergeja | Slovenian Social Science Data Archives (ADP)

Trtikova Ilona | Czech Social Science Data Archive (CSDA)

Verburg Maaike | Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS)

Voronin Yevhen | GESIS Leibniz Institute for Social Sciences