DDI Alliance Strategic Plan, 2021-2023

The DDI Alliance is pleased to announce its finalized Strategic Plan, 2021-2023.  We thank the community for their input and feedback on this new plan, including at the annual Meeting of Members and the annual Meeting of the Scientific Community. 

The plan identifies three overarching priorities:

  1. The DDI User Community: how do we engage with the DDI community and understand the community’s needs?
  2. The DDI Alliance as an Organisation: what structures and systems does the Alliance need in order to meet those needs, and how will it maintain those structures and systems in the long term?
  3. Standards and Work Products: what standards and products does the Alliance provide and maintain, and how do those meet the needs of the Alliance and the broader community? 

We look forward to working with the community to carry out the strategic actions described in this new plan.

DDI at Virtual SciDataCon 2021

DDI activities will be presented at the upcoming Virtual SciDataCon 2021, organised by CODATA and the World Data System, the two data organisations of the International Science Council. Relevant sessions are listed below.

To view the program: PROGRAMME AT A GLANCEFULL PROGRAMME. Please note that registration is free, but participants must register for each session they wish to attend.

Improving Our World One Unit at a Time, Tuesday 20 October, 16:00-17:30 UTC: REGISTER

The current state of the digital representation of units of measure (DRUM) across domains is a significant problem relative to the interoperability of data and it needs to be addressed urgently. Across the scientific disciplines there is a wide variety of knowledge about, focus on, and care with the recording of a unit of measure with each piece of experimental, calculated, modeled, or derived data. Much information is available for annotation of units for humans, however there is no authoritative source for how to represent and store units of measures in digital systems. This is a fundamental problem for data science currently and a major problem for the future integration of large, heterogeneous datasets both within and across disciplines. This session will serve to inform participants of the ubiquity and urgency of the issue, will bring to light additional use cases and pain points, and will increase engagement from multiple stakeholders.

Scientific Vocabularies: needs, status, validity, governance and sustainability, Monday 25 October, 11:00-12:30 UTC and 13:00-14:30 UTC: REGISTER

To maximize semantic interoperability, shared or harmonized terminology is essential: internationally-agreed controlled vocabularies allow different domains to express agreement, and thereby globally integrate data and share a common understanding of the meaning across the natural, social and health sciences, which transcends their traditional boundaries within a humanities context. But harmonisation of the vocabularies is not enough: vocabularies also need to be sustainable and properly governed to enable the inevitable evolution over time as new concepts become relevant, definitions are revised, and older concepts are retired or replaced. It is essential to know which vocabularies to use for a particular purpose, and whether the vocabularies we select are fit for purpose, and most importantly, whether they have been endorsed by an authoritative source (e.g., Science Unions, Scientific Societies). There will be two sessions. The first will be focussed on the scientific validity of the vocabulary, the context it addresses, the community and processes required to govern and sustain it over time, i.e., vocabulary scope, content and governance. The second session will focus on the technical aspects of building, preserving and making a vocabulary FAIR and accessible online.

DDI-CDI: The Challenge of Cross-Domain Data Integration, Tuesday 26 October, 13:00-14:30 UTC and 16:00-17:30 UTC: REGISTER

This panel examines the development and use of the Data Documentation Initiative’s Cross-Domain Integration (DDI-CDI) specification. DDI-CDI provides a model for the enhanced metadata and documentation needed when integrating data which comes from different domains, characterized by diverse structures and provenance. This is a double session. The first part will focus on the capabilities of DDI-CDI and how it complements other metadata standards for meeting the breadth of requirements in a cross-domain scenario. The second part will look at specific implementations and the challenges of adoption and support of standards used in data sharing between domains. The focus of this part if to illustrate in a real sense the challenges to be met, and to look atthe solutions which suggest themselves based on experience.

Interoperability of Metadata Standards in Cross-Domain Science, Wednesday 27 October, 16:00-17:30 UTC: REGISTER

Over the past few years (2018, 2019), CODATA and the DDI Alliance have collaborated on a Dagstuhl Workshop the objective of developing an improved ‘understanding of how metadata specifications (and other semantic artefacts, such as vocabularies and ontologies) can be aligned to support cross-discipline (or cross domain) data integration and analysis’. This activity is a key contribution to the ISC CODATA Decadal Programme: ‘Making data work for cross-domain grand challenges’. This session will report on the 2021 workshop, hosted in hybrid format at Dagstuhl and virtually: ‘Interoperability for Cross-Domain Research: Use Cases for Metadata Standards’; and the sister workshop held virtually in Australian time zones: Interoperability for Cross-Domain Research: FAIR Vocabularies. As well as presenting the outcomes of these workshops, this session will serve as a conclusion of this strand on interoperability. The presenters will outline a summary of implications and a vision for future work which session participants will be invited to discuss and critique.

Welcome New Member: CLOSER

The DDI Alliance welcomes CLOSER (Jon Johnson, designated member representative) as a Full Member!  CLOSER brings together the UK’s world-leading longitudinal studies with participants born throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, to maximise the use, value and impact of longitudinal studies to help improve our understanding of key social and biomedical challenges. Jon Johnson is the Technical Lead at CLOSER, which is part of the Social Research Institute at University College London.

European Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) User Conference (EDDI21): Call for Proposals

The 13th Annual European Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) User Conference (EDDI21), DDI - The Basis of Managing the Data Life Cycle 29.11 - 01.12.2021 is taking place virtually.

  • Extended Submission Deadline: September 15, 2021, 23:59 CEST
  • Conference Days: November 30 - December 1, 2021
  • Tutorials & Workshops: November 29, 2021
  • Hosts: Sciences Po, Center for Socio-Political Data (CDSP), CNRS, Paris
  • Conference web page:

EDDI21 is organized jointly by the Center for Socio-Political Data (CDSP) , GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences and IDSC of IZA - International Data Service Center of the Institute for the Study of Labor.

The Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) is an international standard for describing the data produced by surveys and other observational methods in the social, behavioural, economic, and health sciences.

The meeting will bring together DDI users and professionals from all over Europe and the world. Anyone interested in developing, applying, or using DDI is invited to attend and present.

Expert Workshops in September

The DDI Alliance, CODATA and other partners are organising three workshops in September.  These will be hybrid in format, using the traditional Dagstuhl location in conjunction with other remote locations and participants.  The topics of the workshops are as follows:

The workshop on DDI-CDI will inform on a technical level the subsequent workshop on use cases for metadata standards.

The two workshops on ‘Interoperability for Cross-Domain Research’ build on the outcomes of two previous Dagstuhl Workshops in 2018 and 2019 on the alignment of standards and technologies for cross-domain data combination. These two workshops, taking place in different time zones will collaborate at specific times in the day.

The ideas for all workshops were developed within the cooperation of CODATA and DDI Alliance by the long-time organizing team Simon Cox, Arofan Gregory, Simon Hodson, Steven McEachern, and Joachim Wackerow. Additional organizers contribute to specific workshops: Rowan Brownlee, Hilde Orten, and Lesley Wyborn.

Participation is by invitation only.

DDI Alliance / CODATA Training Webinar Series Continues

"Data Integration: Using DDI-CDI with Other Standards" -- the third webinar of the DDI Alliance / CODATA Training Webinar series -- will take place on 2 September 2021 at 14:00 UTC.  

A developing product of the DDI Alliance, DDI - Cross Domain Integration (DDI-CDI) is intended to fill the emerging need for integration of data from different disciplinary domains. It is designed to connect disparate forms of data and metadata, whether they are described in DDI Codebook/Lifecycle or in any other fashion.  

This webinar will provide a general introduction to the specification using cross-domain data integration examples and showing how DDI-CDI, in combination with other standards, can facilitate the integration of disparate data. The automated aspects of FAIR data reuse across different sources will be demonstrated, based on the granular description provided by DDI-CDI working in combination with existing metadata.


For information about upcoming Webinars in the series, please see:

DDI Executive Board Election Results

DDI member representatives voted in July 2021 to elect four members to the DDI Executive Board.  This followed a call for nominations in April and discussion of the candidates at the June annual Meeting of Members.  

The DDI Executive Board is  composed of seven voting members: six At-Large members elected by the Designated Member Representatives and one member appointed by the Host Insitution.  Members serve for a term of four years. The Executive Board is responsible for managing the operations of the Alliance, including setting overall policy and budget.

Fifteen of the 28 voting eligible DDI member representatives participated in the election.  According to the Alliance Bylaws, the election is decided on the basis of those candidates getting the most votes.

The election results (number of votes are indicated in parentheses):

  • Cory Chobanik (14)
  • Steve McEachern (14)
  • Barry Radler (13)
  • Cathy Fitch (12)

I want to thank Barry, Cathy, Cory, and Steve for accepting the nominations and for their service on the Board.  Barry, Cathy, and Steve are incumbent members of the Board.  Cory is a new member.  Their biosketches and position statements (when provided) are listed below.

I also want to sincerely thank Dana Müller, who served on the Board from 2017-2021.  Dana's commitment and insights were invaluable.



Jared Lyle
Executive Director, DDI Alliance
ICPSR, University of Michigan


Cory Chobanik


Cory Chobanik is Senior Director, Centre for Statistical and Data Standards at Statistics Canada.  Cory has led significant transformational initiatives throughout his career, with experience and partnerships spanning all three levels of government, the private sector and international organizations. He has led projects with a focus on meta(data), information management and standards domains. He has represented Statistics Canada, on interdepartmental, provincial, national and international committees and working groups, in matters related to information management, meta (data) management, and standards. Also, through various international working groups, Cory has represented Canada on issues concerning standards. Internationally he is a member of the technical and statistical groups for the Statistical Data and Metadata eXchange (SDMX) and is a committee member of UNECE - High-Level Group for the Modernization of Official Statistics (HLG-MOS) - Supporting Standards.

Cathy Fitch


Dr. Catherine A. Fitch is associate director of the Institute for Social Research and Data Innovation (ISRDI), the home of the Minnesota Population Center and IPUMS data infrastructure projects, at the University of Minnesota. She is also director of the Minnesota Research Data Center (MnRDC). At MPC and ISRDI, Fitch has been involved in the creation of several of the largest social-science databases, most recently working on the IPUMS-USA collection of complete-count American census data from 1790-1940. She used her experience with social science data infrastructure to fund and build the MnRDC, a Federal Statistical Research Data Center (FSRDC) providing access to restricted and confidential data. Her own research focuses on family and historical demography in the United States. She holds a Ph.D. degree in history and an M.P.P. degree from the University of Minnesota. 

Position Statement 

In the last four years on the DDI Executive Committee, I have been a part of the ongoing conversation about the new strategic plan, and in the last 18 months, conversations about how to adjust plans through the pandemic. In the next four years, I would like to contribute to achieving the goals set out in the new strategic plan as well as how DDI will adjust to post-pandemic realities.

Steve McEachern


Dr. Steven McEachern is Director and Manager of the Australian Data Archive at the Australian National University, where he is responsible for the daily operations and technical and strategic development of the data archive. He has high-level expertise in survey methodology and data archiving, and has been actively involved in development and application of survey research methodology and technologies over 15 years in the Australian university sector. Steve holds a PhD in industrial relations from Deakin University, as well as a Graduate Diploma in Management Information Systems from Deakin University, and a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours from Monash University. He has research interests in data management and archiving, community and social attitude surveys, organisational surveys, new data collection methods including web and mobile phone survey techniques, and reproducible research methods. Steve has been involved in various professional associations in survey research and data archiving over the last 10 years, including Chair of the Executive Board of the Data Documentation Initiative, teaching with the Australian Consortium for Social and Political Research Inc. (ACSPRI), and an executive role with the International Federation of Data Organisations (IFDO).

Barry Radler 


Dr. Barry Radler is a Distinguished Researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Institute on Aging with a background in social science research methods. He manages many aspects of MIDUS (Midlife in the United States), a national longitudinal study of health and well-being. Barry has served as chair of the DDI Marketing and Partnerships group since 2015 and on the Executive Board since 2017.  

Position Statement

For the better part of two decades I have been using DDI products to document a complex multi- disciplinary longitudinal study that has generated an ever-growing body of popular data products. As such I have a vested interest in the DDI Alliance responsibly developing, managing, and promoting the suite of DDI standards and products. I hope to advance those interests by serving on the DDI Alliance Executive Board for another term.

Call for Papers: European DDI User Conference 2021


13th Annual European Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) User Conference (EDDI21),

DDI - The Basis of Managing the Data Life Cycle (30.11 - 01.12.2021) is taking place virtually.

   *   Submission Deadline: September 1, 2021, 23:59 CEST

   *   Date: November 30 - December 1, 2021

   *   Hosts: Sciences Po, Center for Socio-Political Data (CDSP), CNRS, Paris

   *   Conference web page

EDDI21 is organized jointly by the Center for Socio-Political Data (CDSP) <>, GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences <> and IDSC of IZA<> - International Data Service Center of the Institute for the Study of Labor.

The Data Documentation Initiative <> (DDI) is an international standard for describing the data produced by surveys and other observational methods in the social, behavioural, economic, and health sciences.

The meeting will bring together DDI users and professionals from all over Europe and the world. Anyone interested in developing, applying, or using DDI is invited to attend and present.


Call for Papers

We are seeking presentations, talks, papers, posters on all things DDI:

   *   Case Studies

   *   Mature implementations

   *   Early Implementations

   *   Interplay of DDI with other standards or technologies

   *   Projects in early phases in which DDI is under consideration

   *   Critiques of DDI

The topics of the conference include, but are not limited to:

   *   User Needs, Efficient Infrastructures and Improved Quality

   *   Official Statistics

   *   Reusing and Sharing Metadata

   *   Data Harmonization

   *   Incentives to Document Data

   *   Open Data and Linked Open Data

   *   Privacy and Access Control

   *   Metadata versus Data and Related Ethics

   *   Software / Tools


Proposals are welcome for the following presentation forms.

   *   Complete Session

   *   Full Paper

   *   Regular Presentation

   *   Short Presentation

   *   Tutorial or Workshop

If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please have a look at the Call for Papers <>and use the on-line submission system at <> of the conference (opens on June 23, 2021)

   *   The deadline for submissions is September 1, 2021, 24:00 CEST.

   *   Please consider indicating your availability as a reviewer as well.

General Information

   *   For more information about the conference, see the conference web site at <>.

   *   The Program Committee strategically develops, creates and organizes the program <>.

   *   The Organization Committee coordinates the onsite work <>.

   *   For questions or any other correspondence regarding the Call for Papers of EDDI21, please send an email to <mailto:eddi21-prog@googlegroups>.

   *   Last year's program is available at the EDDI20 website <>.

   *   For more information about the EDDI conference series and details on the previous EDDI conferences, look at <>.


We look forward to welcoming you virtually to EDDI21!

Mari Kleemola and Jon Johnson (co-chairs)

on behalf of the EDDI21 Program Committee

Webinar on Implementing FAIR: What DDI Can Do for You!

This Webinar will explain how different DDI products can help to support the implementation of the FAIR principles (guidelines to improve the Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reuse of digital assets).

To register:

DDI Annual Meetings

Dear DDI community,
We invite you to attend our virtual annual meetings this June, including: 
DDI Alliance Annual Meeting of the Scientific Community
June 15, 2021 (Tuesday) 13:00-15:00 UTC
The Meeting of the Scientific Community will discuss DDI technical and scientific developments, including a Scientific Work Plan for the coming year.  The recently reorganized Scientific Board will convene the annual meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 944 3720 7068
Find your local number:

DDI Alliance Annual Meeting of Members
June 22, 2021 (Tuesday) 13:00-15:00 UTC
The Meeting of Members is a forum for Member Organization discussion and feedback, as well as strategic and financial planning for the upcoming year.  The annual Meeting of Members is chaired by the Chair of the DDI Executive Board.
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 980 2585 9815
Find your local number:
Summary reports for each of the discussion items will be linked to the agendas before the respective meetings.  Past annual meeting materials are available on the DDI web site:  Looking forward to seeing many of you (virtually) in June!  

Jared Lyle
Executive Director, DDI Alliance
ICPSR, University of Michigan