DDI Alliance Accomplishments in 2020

As we enter 2021, we want to acknowledge the many DDI accomplishments in 2020 made possible by our passionate community volunteers and our 40+ member organizations.  Achievements include:

DDI Lifecycle 3.3 public release. The result of six years of work addressing new requirements filed by the DDI community, DDI Lifecycle 3.3 offers better coverage for research and data management including non-survey data collection, sampling, and classification management. 

New DDI product: SDTL. The Alliance membership approved an addition to the DDI product suite called Structured Data Transformation Language (SDTL). Designed as another tool to facilitate a DDI-based workflow through the research data lifecycle, SDTL provides machine-actionable descriptions of variable-level data transformation histories derived from any data transformation language (SPSS, SAS, Stata, R, etc.).  The same scripts that are used to transform and manage variables and data files can be used to update metadata files, thereby increasing efficiency in the research process and reducing information loss.

DDI-CDI public review. The Alliance announced the public review of a new specification called DDI – Cross Domain Integration (DDI-CDI). DDI-CDI is a model-driven specification that is designed to provide support for integrating data across domain and disciplinary boundaries, describing disparate data sources, and documenting their provenance. DDI-CDI is technology-agnostic and adaptable to any platform or representation, designed to meet emerging needs for the integration of old and new forms of research data. The development of DDI-CDI also spurred new partnerships with open science organizations like CODATA.

International standards. The DDI Alliance is now a category A liaison to ISO/TC46/SC 4, This moves DDI-Codebook and DDI-Lifecycle closer to being recognized as official International Standards Organizations (ISO) standards. DDI work products are now also catalogued in FAIRsharing, a curated resource on data and metadata standards dedicated to making research data Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reproducible. 

Organizational updates. The Alliance Bylaws were updated to reorganize the Scientific Board and a new Scientific Board was elected.  These changes will improve the management and direction of the Alliance’s scientific and technical work activities.   The Training Group was refreshed with new co-chairs and many new members.  Finally, the Alliance website was reorganized to improve navigation and increase its usefulness for novices and experts alike, assigning responsibility for content to specific working groups. 

As we start a new year, we look forward to building on these accomplishments and connecting with many of you on Alliance activities and at meetings in the coming year.