About the DDI Alliance

Established in 2003, the Data Documentation Initiative Alliance (DDI Alliance) is an international collaboration dedicated to establishing metadata standards and semantic products for describing social science data, data covering human activity, and other data based on observational methods. 

The DDI Alliance shares a commitment to meet worldwide requirements for publicly available standards and semantic products supporting the documentation and integration of social science data and other data for understanding the human condition. The Alliance’s purposes are to:

  • Oversee the continued development of DDI standards and semantic products, including revisions, corrections, and new releases.
  • Promote the adoption of DDI metadata standards and semantic products by stakeholders such as data producers, data distributors, data libraries, data archives, data users, researchers, and software developers and vendors.
  • Support the development of training programs that encourage the use of these standards for all skill levels of potential adopters.
  • Insofar as possible, ensure compatibility of DDI standards with emerging metadata standards in other fields.
  • Balance the interests of a diverse community of stakeholders through a process that is open, transparent, consensus-driven, and open to recourse.

The membership of the Alliance consists of all stakeholder organizations in good standing that assume responsibility for the development and stewardship of DDI metadata standards and semantic products. Members remain in good standing through payment of annual member dues, provision of in-kind contributions, and adoption of DDI standards and products as appropriate. Membership is open to organizations from around the globe regardless of discipline or sector. 

The Alliance is a contractual, unincorporated collaboration of member institutions governed by its Bylaws. An Executive Director and Executive Board manage the operations of the Alliance, while its scientific and technical work is conducted under the guidance of the Scientific Board. The Alliance maintains a small Secretariat at the Host Institution to administer its day‐to‐day operations. The Alliance is financially self‐supporting through Membership dues; license fees; workshop, symposia, and publication fees; and through external research or training grants and contracts with the Host or a Member Institution.

Become a DDI Alliance Member!

DDI Alliance Foundational Documents: 

Annual Meeting of Member Representatives

The Annual Meeting of Member Representatives reviews activities of the Alliance, reviews and approves the activities of the Executive Board, and provides a forum for discussion and feedback.

See Annual Meeting of Member Representatives minutes

Executive Board

The Executive Board is the policymaking and oversight body of the Alliance. The purposes of the Executive Board are to:

  • Select a Host Institution to house the Executive Director and Secretariat and to assume financial and legal responsibility for the Alliance.
  • Set overall policy and budget for the Alliance.
  • Provide strategic guidance and review of the Alliance’s activities.
  • Appoint an Executive Director for the Alliance for a five-year, renewable term.
  • Oversee the management of the financial affairs of the Alliance on behalf of the Members.
  • Set Alliance membership fees and length of membership term for each institutional classification of membership subject to the ratification by formal resolution at the Annual Meeting of Members.
  • Set fees for use of Alliance registered trademarks, certification marks, and collective marks or copyright material and for Alliance-sponsored activities and products.
  • Make decisions on allocation of funds for innovative work and testing.
  • Form Working Groups to perform specific duties as defined in its Purpose.

A small Secretariat is maintained in order to administer day-to-day operations.

See Executive Board membership and meeting minutes

Scientific Board

The Scientific Board is the scientific and technical body of the Alliance which represents the Scientific Community. The Scientific Board proposes the scientific work plan to the membership for approval and facilitates the scientific and technical work activities.  The purposes of the Scientific Board are to:

  • Provide direction and coordination in the development of the substantive content of the DDI standards and other work products of the Alliance by its sub-committees and working groups within the context of the Alliance Strategic Plan.
  • Implement the scientific work plan agreed at the Annual Meeting of the Scientific Community.
  • Oversee the substantive content of DDI standards and other work products.
  • Undertake research and testing concerning proposals for DDI standards and other work products.
  • Develop and promulgate best practices for use of DDI standards and work products.
  • Assess progress and barriers to progress.
  • Provide a report on progress of the scientific work plan over the previous year, and proposals for the future scientific direction and related activities to the Annual Meeting of the Scientific Community.

See Scientific Board membership and meeting minutes

Technical Committee

The Scientific Board maintains a standing Technical Committee whose purpose is to model, render, maintain, and update the DDI specifications to meet community needs and align with Alliance strategic goals. The Technical Committee receives input from substantive working groups of the Scientific Board, DDI users and developers, and other interested parties.

The Technical Committee maintains its membership and minutes on the DDI Collaboration Wiki (click here).

Working Groups

Working Groups advise the Executive Board or the Scientific Board on relevant topics and activities related to the operation, development and future of the Alliance and its specifications and semantic products. Anyone affiliated with a member organization with relevant knowledge and expertise on the given subject may apply to join a working group. Each group must have a designated leader for managing the work and reporting to its authorizing body.

See current Working Groups


Page Last Revised: 7 January 2021