Scientific Board meetings + leadership

The first meeting of the newly elected Scientific Board was held on 3 February 2021.  Ingo Barkow, University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons, was selected as the Chair of the Scientific Board, with Hilde Orten, Norwegian Centre for Research Data, selected as the Vice-Chair.

More details about the Board, including a link to the meeting minutes, is here:


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.

DDI Scientific Board Election Results

The DDI Scientific Board election closed yesterday.  The election was decided on the basis of those candidates receiving the most votes.  We had 13 very qualified candidates, who were described in an earlier announcement:  Twenty-four member organizations voted in this election.
The top seven candidates who received the most votes have been elected to the Scientific Board.  The candidates (and vote counts):
  • Ingo Barkow (19)
  • Carsten Thiel (18)
  • Darren Bell (17)
  • Flavio Rizzolo (16)
  • Simon Hodson (15)
  • Hilde Orten (15)
  • Joachim Wackerow (15)
  • Trisha Kunst Martinez (11)
  • Larry Hoyle (9)
  • Knut Wenzig (9)
  • Christophe Dzikowski (7)
  • Dan Gillman (6)
  • Nicolas Sauger (6)
Our sincere thanks to all thirteen candidates for their willingness to serve.  We look forward to the elected Scientific Board members' terms starting in January 2021!

Building Collaboration between the DDI Alliance and CODATA, the Committee on Data of the International Science Council

CODATA, the Committee on Data of the International Science Council, and the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) Alliance recently signed a letter of collaboration building on the longstanding and ongoing collaboration between the two organisations. The letter details activities where the two organisations intend to cooperate and support each other in the achievement of their common objectives. Each of the organisations has become a dues-paying member of the other organisation and intends to work as an active member of that organisation's activities.


Furthermore, to strengthen cooperation, Steve McEachern, Chair of the Executive Board, will be the DDI Alliance delegate to CODATA, while Simon Hodson, Executive Director of CODATA, is a candidate for the Scientific Board of the DDI Alliance.


Two developments make this collaboration opportune and appropriate.  On the one hand, CODATA has been mandated by the International Science Council, as part of the latter’s Action Plan 2019-2021, to develop and implement a global, decadal programme entitled ‘Making Data Work for Cross-Domain Grand Challenges’. The objectives of the programme are multiple, but first among these is to assist cross-domain research and policy monitoring by facilitating the interoperability, combination and integration of data from many different sources. The mechanisms being explored to assist this are also multiple and include: developing conceptual and semantic alignment between key metadata specifications, developing semantic tools to assist interoperability, developing methodologies and processes to assist harmonisation and data ‘cleaning’, and exploring the contribution that machine learning can make to some of these processes.


On the other hand, DDI - Cross Domain Integration (DDI-CDI) is a potentially significant development which includes definitions for core concepts, applicable across a range of research areas, and which will therefore greatly increase interoperability between data sets.  Taken alongside developments such as DCAT,, initiatives to standardise representation of experiments, observations and measurements, and the improved management of ontologies, DDI-CDI can make a positive contribution across domains and the collaboration between the DDI Alliance and CODATA is very timely.


In the recent past, the DDI Alliance and CODATA have engaged in a number of activities together:

  • Jointly organized two "cross-domain" workshops on metadata standards, hosted at Schloss Dagstuhl in Wadern, Germany (2018, 2019).
  • CODATA has supported the DDI-CDI public review, helping to promote and conduct a series of webinars since May 2020 with an attendance of over 400 people across a wide range of domains. (Given the need for input to the specification from other domains, CODATA's connections were invaluable in identifying the right group of participants.)
  • CODATA is leading an EOSC project to produce a report on the application of DDI-CDI within the EOSC environment, working with members of the DDI Modelling, testing and Representation (MRT) working group.
  • Engaged in supporting projects which are implementing DDI, as part of the Decadal Programme ("Making Data Work for Cross-Domain Grand Challenges"). Notably, the INSPIRE Network development in east Africa is serving both as a test case for using DDI Codebook and DDI-CDI as part of their implementation, and acting as one of the initial use cases for the Decadal Programme on the subject of infectious disease. 
  • Discussed collaboration between the DDI Training Committee and various training programs on the topic of research data management which CODATA participates in, including the RDA-CODATA School of Research Data Science and work with FAIRsFAIR and GO FAIR around their competence centers in this area. A DDI introductory training workshop (51 participants) was conducted as part of the International FAIR Convergence Symposium in December 2020 as a first step in this collaboration.
  • DDI in general and DDI-CDI in particular featured in a number of other sessions at the FAIR Convergence Symposium including a high level panel setting the key technical themes for the week (over 200 participants), a session on combining infectious disease data, including the INSPIRE Network above (over 30 participants) and a session on FAIR data provenance (over 60 participants).


The DDI Alliance shares a commitment to meet worldwide demand for publicly available standards and semantic products that support the documentation and integration of social science data and other data necessary for understanding the human condition. The DDI Alliance is an international collaboration dedicated to establishing metadata standards and semantic products for describing social science data, data measuring human activity, and other data derived from observational methods. The DDI Alliance is composed of its Member and Associate Member Organizations and is governed by an Executive Board, a Scientific Board, and a Technical Committee. In addition, there are working groups that focus on developing specific areas of DDI.



CODATA’s mission is to connect data and people to advance science and improve our world. CODATA is an international non-profit organization mobilizing a global expert community. As the Committee on Data of the International Science Council (ISC), CODATA supports the ISC mission of advancing science as a global public good by promoting the availability and usability of data for all fields of research. CODATA works to advance the interoperability and the usability of such data: research data should be FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). CODATA promotes the principle that data produced by research and of potential value for research should be as open as possible and only as closed as necessary. CODATA pursues its mission through strategic activities to build consensus and implement good practice, and through advancing data policies, data science and data education.


European DDI User Conference 2020 Report

Jon Johnson, Co-Chair of EDDI20, the 12th Annual European DDI 2020 User Conference, provided the following summary of the virtual conference held 1-2 December.

EDDI2020 was held virtually from Paris, and was hosted by Sciences Po, Center for Socio-Political Data (CDSP). Going virtual was always going to be a challenge, it meant more meetings and more emails, both for those on the Local Organising Committee and the Program Committee and many thanks to them.

Nearly 250 registered for the three days. Usual attendance at EDDI is around 100, so going virtual had a real impact, not just the numbers we could reach out to, but also to the diversity in terms of countries (32) and organisations (138) many of whom have never had the opportunity to attend.

Nearly a third of sessions were from French organisations, the highest from a host country in the last 10 years, and a fifth each from Germany and the USA. 

Tutorials included an introduction to DDI (utilizing much of the growing material from the DDI Training Group), and two sessions on the candidate specification, DDI-Cross Domain Integration from some of the team who have been developing it.

The presentations reflected the increasing uptake of the DDI Alliance work products and their central role in delivering data across many infrastructures in Europe be they archives, research organisations or in official statistics.

DDI-Codebook is still the workhorse of our standards, and many presentations illustrated how relevant it continues to be, and how the vast pool of content available can be re-purposed and refashioned either through CESSDA, or by migrating into DataVerse, or building new tools on top of existing resources at GESIS.

DDI-Lifecycle was a major area of interest. Only six years since 3.2 was released, questionnaire functionality is now mature and continues to attract interest both in terms of editors, but also its potential to support a new layer of information to support research. Support for longitudinal data was well represented, to document concordance of data across time, linking surveys to admin data and confidentiality. The availability of better tools e.g. Colectica and CESSDA services, and the consequent lowering of barriers was reflected in a number of presentations which were more “researcher uses DDI to solve a problem”, than “data manager persuades researcher this is the best way”.

A session on DDI-CDI and its use in the CoDATA Decadal Programme and other presentations on linked data and XKOS highlighted the new horizons which are opening up. Where there is undocumented data, there is an opportunity to manage it and extend our existing standards to plug that gap! This was illustrated by the session on paradata, which introduced some forthcoming work, and raised the need for a working group in this increasingly important area. 

Presentations and posters are available from Recordings of the sessions are available on the DDI Alliance You Tube channel: 

Sciences Po have generously agreed to host EDDI in 2021. With the vaccines in production, we look forward to see you in Paris 29 November – 1 December 2021.

Public Release of Structured Data Transformation Language (SDTL) - Version 1.0

The DDI Alliance is pleased to announce the initial public release of Structured Data Transformation Language (SDTL) - Version 1.0.

Structured Data Transformation Language (SDTL) is an independent intermediate language for representing data transformation commands. Statistical analysis packages (e.g., SPSS, Stata, SAS, Python, and R) provide similar functionality, but each one has its own proprietary language. SDTL provides machine-actionable descriptions of variable-level data transformation histories derived from any data transformation language. SDTL uses JSON schemas to represent common operations, such as RECODE, MERGE FILES, and VARIABLE LABELS. Provenance metadata represented in SDTL can be added to documentation in DDI and other metadata standards.

For more information, please see the SDTL product page on the DDI Alliance web site:

Thanks to everyone who contributed to SDTL - Version 1.0, especially George Alter, the C2Metadata Project supported by the Data Infrastructure Building Blocks (DIBBs) program of the National Science Foundation (NSF ACI-1640575), the DDI SDTL Working Group, and the DDI Technical Committee.

DDI Scientific Board Candidates + Election

DDI members are voting from December 8-22 to elect seven members to the reorganized DDI Scientific Board. The Scientific Board is the scientific and technical body of the DDI Alliance and 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.  More details about the Scientific Board are found in the DDI Bylaws.  More details about the nomination process are found in this November announcement.

Biosketches and position statements of the Scientific Board candidates are listed below in alphabetical order. The election will be decided on the basis of those candidates getting the most votes. If a tie vote occurs, a second round of voting will take place.

For this initial election, member terms will start on January 1, 2021.  The newly elected Scientific Board will select which three of the initial members will serve for two years (ending June 2023) and which four will serve for four years (ending June 2025). 

The Scientific Board candidates include:

Ingo Barkow


Ingo Barkow has been working at the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons since 2015, first as a lecturer for data management, since 2017 as a professor and since 2019 as the head of the Swiss Institute for Information Science. Prior to that, he was Data Manager at the German Institute for International Educational Research (DIPF) in Frankfurt, where he held technical management positions in the Research Data Center (FDZ) and the Center for Technology-based Assessment (TBA). He is involved in the DDI Alliance for more than 10 years and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Scientific Board.

Position Statement

As former Chair of the temporary working group which discussed and proposed the new structure of the Scientific Board I would like to volunteer to put these changes into practice. We left the processes open so the newly elected board will be able to define its internal proceedings, but it might be helpful to have somebody who served in the former Scientific Board as well as in the working group who can explain the original ideas behind this new setup. My further goals are to harmonize processes between the different products of the DDI Alliance and to build closer connections between the new Scientific Board and the different working groups.

Darren Bell


Darren Bell has worked at UKDA for nine years, firstly as a data modeler/developer and latterly as Director of Technical Services since the beginning of 2020.  Prior to that, he worked in a variety of roles in both global infrastructure and development in both the public and commercial sectors.  His particular technical interests are in linked data, cloud platforms and semantic web.  His experience with DDI extends back to 2.1 and 3.1 and more recently, experimenting with DDI4 to model big data on property graphs and playing a key role in DDI advancements at CESSDA.

Position Statement

Over the last decade I believe that the DDI community has focused on building elegant and sophisticated models, but sometimes at the cost of a grounded sense of how these can be operationalized in the real world.   The fact remains that Codebook is still used by the majority.  I hope I can bring some operational common sense and an ability to strike a balance between theory and practice to the Committee.  By augmenting the more esoteric modelling activities with a clear, integrated operational and training roadmap for DDI, we can accelerate adoption of Lifecycle and CDI.

Christophe Dzikowski 


Christophe Dzikowski holds a master's degree in public statistics methodologies and has 8 years of experience as a statistician at INSEE. He has been a survey methodologist and has led sampling, weighting, imputation and questionnaire design operations. He has also held a position in the design and development of applications, based on both administrative and survey data, enabling survey managers to obtain outputs automatically. Currently, he works in the quality unit on international standards and metadata, participates in the unece working groups, is administrator of the colectica suite used at insee and is involved in the work on active metadata.

Position Statement

As a Board member, Insee would facilitate the liaison with Official Statistics, help collect statistical needs and promote DDI in statistical organizations. Insee's experience as a DDI practitioner will be useful for defining the evolutions of the DDI products. Insee has also a valuable knowledge in using DDI in articulation with other standards, for example ModernStats models or RDF vacabularies, and in implementing DDI as active metadata in operational processes. Insee intends to leverage this background to actively contribute to the Board activities, with the aim of producing useful and concrete outcomes for the community.

Dan Gillman


Dan Gillman works for the Office of Survey Methods Research at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. My research interests include standards, metadata, terminology, and classification. This includes 30 years’ experience developing standards, including in the DDI, UNECE, ISO, W3C, OMG, SDMX, and US federal government communities. My work with DDI dates back to 1995. I am a long time member of the TC and co-chaired the Survey Design and Implementation subgroup that developed the methodological sections (sampling, questionnaire, weighting) of DDI 3.3. Efforts over the past 10 years include XKOS and the new DDI-CDI.

Position Statement

Supplementing survey data with administrative or other data, the US Evidence Based Policy Making Act (2019), AI and machine learning, and transparency and reproducibility result in the need for standards that address discovery, understanding, usage, interoperability, and integration of data. DDI standards are positioned to supplement these problems. But, the need for improving DDI standards continues, including reviewing current practice, incorporating new areas in statistics, conforming to other standards, linking business requirements to data, improving provenance information, and addressing the many areas where statistical data can be combined with other data. My business and research interests coincide with these needs.

Simon Hodson


Simon Hodson has been Executive Director of CODATA since August 2013. Simon is an expert on data policy issues and research data management. He has contributed to influential reports on Current Best Practice for Research Data Management Policies and to the Science International Accord on Open Data in a Big Data World. He chaired the European Commission’s Expert Group on FAIR Data which produced the report Turning FAIR into Reality. Simon is currently vice-chair of the UNESCO Open Science Advisory Committee, tasked with drafting the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science, which is intended for adoption in November 2021. 

Position Statement

CODATA has been mandated by the International Science Council, in the latter’s Action Plan, to develop and implement a global programme ‘Making Data Work for Cross-Domain Grand Challenges’ (including SDGs and other components of the 2030 agenda). The programme aims to assist cross-domain research by facilitating the integration of data from diverse sources. This preparatory work has led to close collaboration with members of the DDI community and the MRT Group around DDI-CDI. If elected to the Scientific Board, I would seek to strengthen that cooperation and advance the contribution of DDI to supporting research into global grand challenges.

Larry Hoyle


Larry Hoyle is a Senior Scientist (Emeritus - January 1, 2021) at the Institute for Policy and Social Research, University of Kansas. He has been active with DDI since 2005, participating in many Dagstuhl workshops and DDI sprints. He has authored a number of DDI related papers and presentations, including for SAS, IASSIST, EDDI, and NADDI conferences. He wrote the Sloan Foundation seed grant for NADDI and with Mary Vardigan wrote an NSF grant to fund adding enhanced citation capabilities to DDI4  (DDI-CDI). He is currently working with Joachim Wackerow to create an R package for the whole DDI-CDI model.

Position Statement

I have a strong interest in the effort to broaden the capabilities of DDI to describe data and its context from a wider range of disciplines. I think this is crucial for the long-term viability of DDI.  Multi-disciplinary research is becoming increasingly common and there is a need for standards that cross domains. It was disheartening at the Dagstuhl Interoperability of Metadata Standards workshop in 2018 to see non social science participants view DDI as having a rather limited applicability. The recent collaboration with CoData is helping to change this view.

Trisha Kunst Martinez


Trisha Kunst Martinez, ICPSR Director of Computing and Network Services, is a Product Management and IT leader with 20 plus years of award-winning experience in digital marketing, product management and strategy focused on creating platforms to scale memorable customer experiences.

Position Statement

I want to understand adoption of DDI to determine high usage needs of users. I would focus on how interoperable DDI is with other widely adopted schema standards (such as I would lead DDI to become more interoperable with other widely adopted schema standards, such as standards for medical and genetic records, whenever possible.

Hilde Orten


Hilde Orten is a sociologist, working as a Special Adviser at NSD - Norwegian Centre for Research Data with focus on metadata related tasks. She started her work at NSD as a member of the first European Social Survey archive team, where she developed systems for cross-national data management. Later her focus moved from comparative surveys to metadata. At NSD she has been engaged in survey tools development, based on DDI-Lifecycle. Hilde is active in the work of the DDI Alliance as a member of the group that develops the DDI-Cross Domain Integration (DDI-CDI) specification, as well as controlled vocabularies development and DDI training. Hilde was a member of the DDI Scientific Board restructuring temporary working group. 

Position Statement

I will work for an active collaboration between the Scientific Board, the Scientific Community and the working groups of the DDI Alliance, with a goal to achieve consolidation between the ongoing tasks and progress in the work. I see collaborative online training and discussion workshops on specific topics as a means to move forward with this. This will require support and empowerment of the training group and its activities. To meet the challenges a changing data world brings to metadata standards development, I view collaboration with people from a variety of research domains and other standards as vital.

Flavio Rizzolo


Flavio Rizzolo is a computer science and data professional at Statistics Canada with extensive experience in interoperability, architecture and standards. Over the past 10 years he has worked in complex data projects, R&D initiatives and international collaborations and has been actively engaged in the development of international standards, models, and architectures, e.g. UNECE ModernStats (GSIM, CSPA, CSDA, COOS), DDI 4 and DDI-CDI. He is currently, co-chair of UNECE GSIM and GSBPM teams, member of intergovernmental working groups and the DDI Technical Committee, and a participant of the CODATA Decadal Programme. He received a MSc. and a PhD from the University of Toronto.

Position Statement

We would like to take the DDI products to the next level to support interoperability in complex data platforms and production environments as part of a rich ecosystem of standards. We envision DDI products, especially Lifecycle, CDI, XKOS and SDTL, becoming the go-to standard suite to enable the next generation of metadata-driven solutions across data capture, processing and analysis, which is a fundamental part of the modernization efforts being carried out at Statistics Canada and other NSO’s. We believe Flavio will bring a unique set of skills and experience to the table that can help keeping DDI moving in that direction.

Nicolas Sauger


Nicolas Sauger is Professor of Methods and Political Science at Sciences Po, Paris (France).  He is the Director of the Center for Socio Political Data, which participates in the French Archive network for Social Science Data Progedo, itself a member of the European infrastructure CESSDA. Sauger is a specialist of comparative large-scale surveys (ESS, CSES, NES) and experimental methods. He has published about 80 papers about data collection design, elections and institutions. Sauger has been a member of the DDI Scientific Board Restructuring Group and has contributed to the organization of the EDDI Conference in 2020 and 2021.

Position Statement

Running for possibly becoming a member of the DDI Scientific board reflects my wish to positively contribute to the developments of DDI in the years to come. So far, the bulk of my experience has consisted in data production and dissemination in the field of political science with a keen interest in interdisciplinary endeavors. What I might bring to DDI is my experiences of different usages of metadata standards as a researcher, as a data producer but also as a data archive officer. I have also substantial experience in sitting in various international scientific boards. I am convinced that diversity is key to the strategic development of DDI. I hope to be in position to contribute to going in this direction.

Carsten Thiel


Carsten Thiel is Chief Technical Officer at CESSDA, the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives, a European Research Infrastructure Consortium. He is responsible for all technological aspects of the CESSDA infrastructure and its services. Prior to working at CESSDA, he was Technology Coordinator and Co-Manager for the DARIAH-DE research project at the University of Göttingen. He is also involved in many European infrastructure cooperations. He holds a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Magdeburg, where he worked as a teaching assistant. His research interests include digital research infrastructures, distributed development processes and the DevOps approach to infrastructure management.

Position Statement

DDI is crucial for data exchange between CESSDA Service Providers. However, standard compliance is a core challenge for CESSDA, which brings together a heterogeneous and multilingual body of national data archives from over 20 countries. CESSDA has worked on harmonising and aligning the use of different DDI standards across its bodies and services for many years. Although Carsten is not a metadata expert or practitioner, he can contribute to the advancement of DDI from his perspective, working at the intersection of these endeavours at CESSDA Main Office.

Joachim Wackerow


Joachim Wackerow is a metadata expert at GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany. He has been involved in the development of DDI Lifecycle since 2004 and was vice chair of the Technical Committee from 2007 to 2016. He is the main inventor of the annual DDI training and workshop series at Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz Center for Informatics in Wadern, Germany, and has been a co-organizer of these events since 2007. He is a co-initiator of the European DDI User Conference (EDDI), chaired from 2010 to 2018. He is a member of the core group driving the DDI Moving Forward Project, from which DDI-CDI recently emerged. From 2016 to 2020, he served as chair of the Scientific Board. 

Position Statement

My focus is on enabling an active DDI Alliance through a better division of responsibilities between the Executive Board, the Scientific Board and the Working Groups, as set out in the bylaws. With this in mind, a key issue would be the creation of a scientific work plan to improve the (combined) use of the DDI specifications, including a reusable training library for all DDI versions. I am convinced that the DDI Alliance, as a small domain-specific organization, needs to invest in modern specification technologies and collaborate with other organizations to play a role in an emerging global research data infrastructure.

Knut Wenzig


Since 2014, Knut Wenzig has been working as a social scientist for the SOEP (Socio-Economic Panel at DIW Berlin) in the areas of documentation and data management. His metadata activities started in 2010 at a Research Data Center. Here he came in contact with the DDI community and since 2015 he is a member of EDDI’s program committee. For the next 4 years he is responsible for the project “Open, metadata enriched, non-proprietary data format for data dissemination” within the German National Research Data Infrastructure. Here is his chapter on metadata (“Metadaten”) in a handbook:

Position Statement

A broader application of DDI standards will help to keep the promises of the FAIR movement. The availability of data and metadata complying to DDI Standards and the availability of software tools and services that can produce and process this information are mutually dependent. I want to look at the published DDI metadata and report on how DDI is used (inspired by to inform further development. Publishing is one of the pillars of science. I want to make suggestions to provide the community with information about relevant publications and support writing e.g. by establishing a publication award.

Welcome New Member: CODATA, Committee on Data of the International Science Council

The DDI Alliance welcomes CODATA, Committee on Data of the International Science Council (Dr. Simon Hodson, member representative) as a Full Member!

CODATA, the Committee on Data of the International Science Council (ISC), is a global not-for-profit organisation that supports the ISC mission of advancing science as a global public good by promoting the availability and usability of data for all fields of research.

Recording of the Webinar to Explain DDI Scientific Board Restructuring

Ingo Barkow, Jared Lyle, and Joachim Wackerow presented a Webinar on 24 November 2020 to discuss the upcoming changes to the DDI Scientific Board and answer questions.  A recording of the Webinar is now available on the DDI Alliance YouTube channel:

The DDI Scientific Board proposes the scientific work plan to the membership for approval and facilitates the scientific and technical work activities of the DDI Alliance. As announced with the recent DDI Bylaws changes, the new Scientific Board will be composed of seven voting members elected by the Members of the Alliance. Representatives from Members and Associate Members of the Alliance are eligible to serve as elected members of the Scientific Board. A majority (4 out of 7) of the elected members of the Scientific Board must be from Member Organizations. No Member or Associate Member shall have more than one representative serving on the Scientific Board at the same time. For the initial election, three members will be elected for two-year terms and four for four-year terms. Terms will start on 1 January 2021 and run through June 2023 and June 2025, respectively.


Structured Data Transformation Language (SDTL) approved

Earlier this month, DDI members voted on the Structured Data Transformation Language (SDTL).  Nineteen of the 28 eligible voting designated member representatives voted, with all responding “YES, the validity and usefulness of Version 1.0 of SDTL has been demonstrated and it should now be accepted as a part of the DDI standard.”  The vote passed with a two-thirds majority. 
SDTL is an independent language for representing data transformation commands in statistical analysis packages, such as SPSS, Stata, SAS, R, and Python.  Commands like RECODE, MERGE FILES, and VARIABLE LABELS are rendered in a structured format (JSON, XML, RDF) that is easy for machines to read and process.  Command scripts translated into SDTL produce variable-level data transformation histories, which can be translated into natural language.  SDTL can be added to Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) and other metadata standards for use in data catalogs, codebooks, and other documentation.  SDTL was developed by the Continuous Capture of Metadata for Statistical Data (C2Metadata) Project, which was funded by National Science Foundation grant ACI-1640575.
As a next step, the DDI Technical Committee will incorporate corrections noted in the Public Review and prepare the specification for publication.  
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the development of SDTL, especially George Alter (Principal Investigator of the C2Metadata Project), the C2Metadata Project members, the DDI SDTL working group, and the DDI Technical Committee.
More details about SDTL: