DDI Executive Board Election Results (March 2023)

DDI member representatives voted in late February and early March 2023 to elect one member to the DDI Executive Board. Twenty-one 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):

  • Jon Johnson (17 designated member representatives voted for Jon; 1 representative marked "Other" without specifying a candidate; 1 representative marked "I do not wish to vote"; 2 representatives opened but did not complete the online election ballot)

The Executive Board is composed of seven voting members: six elected by the Designated Member representatives and one member appointed by the Host Institution. Members serve for a term of four years. The Executive Director serves as an ex officio member, without vote. The Executive Board is the policymaking and oversight body of the Alliance.

I want to thank Jon for accepting the nomination and for his willingness to serve on the Board.  Jon's biosketch and position statement are listed below.



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


Jon Johnson


Jon Johnson is currently Technical Lead at CLOSER, which has been documenting UK longitudinal studies using DDI-Lifecycle for the last 10 years. He has previously worked at the UK Data Archive as part of a project managing smart energy data which used an early iteration of DDI-CDI. Jon is currently exploring ways in which AI and machine learning can be used to enhance and improve the use of metadata in the data lifecycle.

Jon has been active on the DDI Technical Committee since 2013 and has served as its Vice-Chair since 2016. He is also co-chair of the annual European DDI (EDDI) conference, a position he has held from 2017. Jon has a background in survey data management and as a developer in banking and insurance.

Position Statement

I have been involved with the DDI Alliance and the wider DDI community in a number of roles over the last decade. I believe that this has given me a good understanding, not only of the challenges of developing, delivering and supporting standards, and the probably more difficult challenge of encouraging an ecosystem that allows them to be used and flourish. I am standing for the Executive Board as I believe that I can contribute to ensuring that the Executive plays a central role in putting in place a clear strategic vision for the long term health of the products, its associated training, promotion and marketing and prioritizing financially to make that happen.

Webinar: The DDI Variable Cascade: Describing Data to Optimize Reusability and Comparison. Thu 9 March 2023

In the social, behavioural, and economic sciences, data is often described as sets of ‘variables’ – essentially the columns in a table or the answers, respondent-by-respondent, to a question in a survey. The term ‘variable’ is employed by researchers and data managers to describe a range of specific uses of this granular concept, often in ways that lack sufficient clarity to support automation. The DDI variable cascade is a more nuanced model which describes the stages of a variable from conception to its use in a data set. Drawing on other conceptual standards such as the Generic Statistical Information Model (GSIM), DDI provides an implementation mechanism for the increasingly common granular management and reuse of data.

In this webinar, the model behind the variable cascade will be presented, along with the practical implementation of the various types. There will be time for questions and answers with our expert panel. Speakers include: Arofan Gregory, consultant (CODATA); Hilde Orten, Norwegian Agency for Shared Services in Education and Research (Sikt); and Kathryn Lavender, US National Archive of Computerized Data on Aging (NACDA).

This webinar is free and open to all. For more information or to register, please visit:

Date: Thu 9 March 2023
Time: 15.00-16.30 UTC
Location: online

The CODATA-Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) Training Webinars series is a collaboration to reach new audiences and provide ongoing value to existing users, by demonstrating the value of DDI tools, products and standards to those creating, managing and using research data within the social, behavioural, and economic sciences. Find out more about the CODATA-DDI Alliance collaborative webinar series at

Learn more about DDI at

Save the Date: DDI Annual Meeting in Philadelphia (May 30, 13:00-17:00 EDT)

The DDI Alliance will host a combined Annual Meeting of Members and Annual Meeting of the Scientific Community on Tuesday, May 30th, from 13:00-17:00 EDT, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (in connection with the IASSIST conference). This is an opportunity for DDI members and community participants to learn about business, scientific, and technical activities of the Alliance, and provide feedback on priorities for the coming year.

More details about the meeting, including a full agenda, will be distributed the month before the meeting. While the annual meeting will be in person, we expect to offer virtual attendance, too. Past annual meeting materials are available on the DDI web site: We hope to see many of you at the meeting!

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WorldFAIR Report Underscores Value of DDI Metadata

A new WorldFAIR project ( report describes the data harmonisation practices of comparative (cross-national) social surveys, through case studies of: (1) the European Social Survey (ESS) and (2) a satellite study, the Australian Social Survey International – European Social Survey (AUSSI-ESS). The report underscores the importance of using standards --including DDI -- for the management of data and metadata.

To view the full report:
McEachern, Steven, Orten, Hilde, Thome Petersen, Hanna, & Perry, Ryan. (2023). WorldFAIR Project (D6.1) Cross-national Social Sciences survey FAIR implementation case studies (1.1). Zenodo.

Registration Open: DDI, FAIR, and the Emergent Role of Active Metadata: A CODATA-DDI Alliance Webinar for the RDA Decade of Data

It is widely accepted that the FAIR data principles highlight the importance of metadata. The Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) community has decades of experience in supporting data production and reuse within the social, behavioural, and economic sciences through the publication and use of detailed, machine-actionable metadata specifications. This webinar explores the lessons that have been learned over that time, and how these lessons can be applied more broadly in the context of FAIR data sharing. The importance of granular metadata to data management practices is clear, but increasingly the ability to leverage metadata in an active capacity – to drive production, management, and dissemination – is growing in importance. With the advent of FAIR, the need for cross-domain exchange of metadata is also growing, and the DDI specifications are evolving to meet that need. More than ever, alignment and coordination among metadata standards and models is needed. This webinar looks at how granular, active metadata can better support research data management both within and across domains, and should be of interest to a broad set of the groups working in RDA.

Time: May 4, 2023 03:00 PM in Paris

To register:

Seeking Nominations for DDI Executive Board Vacancy

Dear DDI community,

The Executive Board, which is the policymaking and oversight body of the Alliance, is seeking to fill a vacancy. If you are interested in serving on the Executive Board or know of someone else who would make a good candidate, please email me (lyle [at] by 3 February 2023. We will hold an election in February to fill the vacancy.

Bill Block, Executive Board Chair, is copied on this message. Feel free to reach out to Bill or me with questions.



Jared Lyle
Executive Director, DDI Alliance
ICPSR, University of Michigan
lyle [at]

DDI Developers Hackathon - Registration and Submission of Challenges now open

Dear all

As you might know from our previous Save-the-Date Mail and the invitation at the EDDI Conference in December 2022, we plan to revive the DDI Developers Group which has been dormant since 2014 by organizing a DDI Developers Hackathon at the facilities of the Swedish National Data Service in Gothenburg (Medicinaregatan 18A) from Friday 24th of March until Saturday 25th of March, 2023. In the meantime we finalized the agenda (listed below) and can finally open the registration and submission of challenges for this event. This event is directly following the Research Data Alliance (RDA) plenary in the same week. Therefore we believe some participants could already be at the location saving travel costs.

If you are a developer, software engineer or programmer using or implementing tools around the DDI suite of metadata standards this event might be the chance to exchange ideas with similar people plus during the two days we would like to create some prototypical software implementations of current pain points or needed features for DDI tools.

If you are engaged in DDI related work (e.g. in working groups or any of the boards) you are welcome to submit challenges (i.e. implementation ideas) for the participating hackers, even if you do not participate in person.

The event is sponsored by the DDI Alliance, the Swedish National Data Service (SND) and the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons (FHGR) which will provide catering and the location for the whole event. For a limited number of people also sponsorships for travel costs can be provided if the member organizations cannot sponsor it.

Please register here for the Hackathon:

Please submit ideas for topics (so called challenges) for the participating hackers here:

During the event there will be a Hackathon Bar which provides snacks and drinks for the participating hackers at all times. Additionally there will be lunch and dinner served at fitting times during the implementation phases so hackers can fully concentrate on their tasks. The event will also start with a welcome dinner on Thursday evening and end with a thank you dinner on Saturday evening. As special as all three organizers are craft brewers we will also provide two craft beers especially brewed for this event. All catering will be free of cost.

The results from the Hackathon will be available as Open Source software under a license (e.g. MIT, LGPL) which will allow the use in other Open Source projects as well as commercial products.

We hope to re-create some lasting interest for more IT-related topics within the DDI community. Therefore we are happy for every developer, software engineer, programmer or DevOps person who can make it to Gothenburg.

Best Regards

The DDI Developers Hackathon Organizing Team
Ingo Barkow
Johan Fihn Marberg
Olof Olsson


DDI Developers Group Hackathon 2023 - Preliminary Program

Swedish National Data Service

Medicinaregatan 18A, Gothenburg, Sweden


Thursday, 23 March 2023

From 19:00 Welcome Dinner and Drinks at Station Linné  


Friday, 24 March 2023

09:00 - 10:30


Introduction to the former DDI Developers Group       

Group discussion of proposed topics

10:30 - 11:00

Coffee Break

11:00 - 12:30

Possibility for group establishment

Start of development work


Lunch sandwiches available at Hackathon Bar

12:30 - open end

Possibility for development work

Coffee, Drinks and Snacks available all time at Hackathon Bar

18:30 Pizzas available at Hackathon Bar


Saturday, 25 March 2023

09:00 - 16:00

Possiblity for development work

Coffee, Drinks and Snacks available all time at Hackathon Bar


Lunch sandwiches available at Hackathon Bar

16:00 - 17:00

Presentation of the results of each group

17:00 - 18:00

Discussion of further steps and continuation of work

Discussion of reinstatment of DDI Developers Group



From 19:00 Thank you Dinner

EDDI 2022 Conference Report

The aim of the European DDI (EDDI) conference is to be a place where the social science data management community can meet, exchange ideas, report progress and build DDI capabilities and capacity across Europe. Moving around different cities in Europe has been an integral part of that process. Since the beginning, the tutorials, long breaks between sessions, and meetups in the evening have all been part of encouraging a friendly and conducive atmosphere. This was very much challenged by COVID and moving everything online. SciencesPo, who had great plans for an in-person conference in 2020 graciously offered to host it online, stuck with us for 2021 and ably carried off the hybrid event in 2022 in Paris.

Up until 2020, there had been over 500 people from 170 organizations that had come to an EDDI conference. Going online does seem to have stimulated more interest, of the three recent conferences hosted in Paris there were 274 new participants and 122 new organizations, whilst still retaining the participation of 40 percent of those who had previously attended an in-person conference. Paris 2022 had 120 participants, 50 new to EDDI and 19 of the 40 presentations were from first time attendees.

Whatever the advantages of online, the pleasure of actually meeting in person, and having unprompted discussions can’t easily be reproduced, especially for those new to EDDI.

The conference was preceded by a CODATA / DDI Alliance Introduction to DDI, online event, with presentations on DDI-Codebook, DDI-Lifecycle, DDI-CDI and demonstrations of various tools that support DDI. The presentations are available online at

The conference was opened by the new CESSDA Director, Bonnie Wolff-Boenisch, with a keynote entitled “The European Research Area - So Far and Yet So Close”, which drew on the development of a European vision for cooperation and her experiences at both Science Europe and the European Research Infrastructure (ESFRI) to illustrate the way in which the incorporation of infrastructure and collaboration is a critical part of delivering the European Research Area’s policy objectives. She concluded by saying that “without metadata experts and data infrastructures, there will not be a data highway for research and innovation”.

NESSTAR has been an important part of the DDI Codebook landscape since its launch in 2000, but with the decision to stop support in 2015, many organizations have been looking at the alternatives available. This was the subject of two sessions and a number of related presentations, that showcased a range of different solutions, including using Dataverse as the backend repository and using the add-on developed at CDSP in 2018, to access variable level information (, migrating to NADA (INED, Tulsa), using MTNA Rich Data Services (Statistics Canada) and Colectica (Sikt), through to development of a completely new repository at Progedo and SSJDA. Other presentations from CDSP looked at what workflows might be needed to support these more heterogeneous environments, and providing a DDI-Codebook feed from Dataverse. The World Bank also presented the latest upgrade to their NADA software.

DDI-Lifecycle has steadily increased its visibility at EDDI. A number of different groups are providing harmonizable / concorded data to the research community and the presentations from CDSP, NACDA and FSD showed a range of different approaches to creating that content both within a study, but increasingly across studies using Colectica. Adoption of DDI-Lifecycle at CESSDA was the spur for a number of presentations on how the many archives are managing to provide content for the CESSDA Data Catalogue, and how CESSDA interacts with other European infrastructures, including ECRIN and EOSC. There were a number of presentations from INSEE, including a keynote from Franck Cotton on how over a 10-year period they have developed a system that can specify, field and manage the data from their business surveys, natively in DDI-Lifecycle. New software supporting extraction of DDI-Lifecycle from datasets by Colectica, GESIS and CLOSER were also showcased. Presentations from CLOSER and INSEE explored the challenges of creating questionnaires in DDI-Lifecycle, which was also the subject of a one-day workshop preceding the conference which proposed the establishment of a DDI Alliance questionnaire working group.

SciencesPo were able to offer a diversity scholarship, and this led to two very interesting talks from researchers on their perspective on DDI.

There were a number of presentations focusing specifically on interoperability, with other standards, however, in recent years many presentations have been related to DDI being used with/or alongside other standards. The DDI Alliance Technical Committee, along with the DDI-CDI Working Group held a post-conference workshop on implementation languages for DDI, looking at ways in which DDI can be represented in other ways than just XML as has been the case thus far.

The Program Committee would also like to place on record our thanks to CDSP at SciencesPo for hosting what was a memorable in-person conference.

EDDI 2023 will be hosted by the Slovenian Social Science Data Archives at the University of Ljubljana.

Presentations from the Conference are available from

Jon Johnson & Mari Kleemola
EDDI co-chairs

DDI Alliance Secretariat Offices Closed Dec. 24-Jan. 2

The DDI Alliance Secretariat offices will be closed from December 24th through January 2nd.  Our online resources remain open 24/7 at  Happy Holidays!

Registration Open: DDI-CDI: Optimising Your Data Description for Integration and Reuse, Workshop 24 March 2023

Time: Friday 24 March 2023, 13:00-16:30 UTC

Location: online and Lindholmen Conference Centre 5 Lindholmspiren, 417 56 Lindholmen, Sweden (colocated side event to the RDA Plenary)

Register here:

Event Goal and Structure:

The goal of this workshop is to explain the mechanism employed by DDI-CDI and how it can most easily be leveraged to enhance the reusability of research data. DDI-CDI is a model-based, platform- and technology-independent specification designed to supplement the metadata holdings of data disseminators, archives, and producers. By allowing for an expression of structural metadata, with references to external controlled vocabularies and ontologies, and by connecting metadata records intended for discovery, provenance, and process description, it can act as a connector format which is independent of domain standards. Typically, it can be produced in a programmatic fashion from existing metadata records held in more domain-specific models, although it can also be used as a stand-alone specification. It supports granular, machine-actionable description of a wide variety of data, from traditional wide data files to event/streaming data to key-value (“big”) data and multidimensional cubes.

This workshop will present an overview followed by a series of worked examples, with an exploration of different types of implementations and features of the standard in each. The intent is to give more than an overview, to help participants understand not only what DDI-CDI is intended to do, but also how it works to complement other popular metadata models and standards. Different syntax representations of the standards will be discussed.

DDI has long published metadata standards for the social, economic and behavioural sciences, which are widely used among data producers and archives, including those in the CESSDA network, such as the Swedish National Data Service, the UK Data Archive, Sciences Po, Gesis, Sikt – the Norwegian Agency for Shared Services in Education and Research and many more. DDI-CDI represents an evolution reflecting the growing importance of cross-disciplinary research and the requirement for data services to describe new types of data coming from other domains. The result is a specification which can describe any data in a domain agnostic fashion and is useful within domains for which other DDI specifications are not relevant. Because of this domain independent feature, it has become central to the WorldFAIR project work on the Cross-Domain Interoperability Framework.

Each part comprises three topics, which will each be structured around a presentation and discussion.

Target Audience:

This workshop is intended to be useful to both technical and operational staff working in organisations which produce, archive, integrate, and disseminate quantitative research data, regardless of domain orientation. It is intended to address questions about what the practical implementation of systems supporting the FAIR principles will look like, and will appeal to infrastructure players who are concerned with broadening and deepening the reusability of their data holding through enhanced data and provenance description.

Part One: FAIR Functional Drivers and Requirements

13:00-13:30: The Variable Cascade: concepts, measures and observations.

13:30-14:00: Data Structures: the roles of concepts and variables.

14:00-14:30: Provenance: connecting data through process.

14:30-15:00 UTC: Break

Part Two: System Functions and Supporting Standards

15:00-15:30: Data integration across domains and structures.

15:30-16:00: Process description and alignment with PROV.

16:00-16:30: DDI-CDI as the connection point for a set of related specifications (CDIF example).

Organisational Note:

The workshop will be recorded and the recordings will be made available via CODATA Vimeo. If you plan to attend the event virtually, kindly note the Data Statement for CODATA Zoom at:

All attendees, onsite and online are expected to comply with the CODATA Code of Conduct:

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