Crossing Boundaries with Tools and Services (C-BoTS): FSD’s national data infrastructure 2024

The Crossing Boundaries with Tools and Services (C-BoTS) project enhances responsiveness to changes in FSD’s operational environment and the evolved needs and expectations of users and stakeholders. Supporting the principles of open science is one of the core aims of the project.

C-BoTS aims to automatise the reporting of the use of FSD services, explore the applicability of existing anonymisation tools for FSD use, and develop tooling for the processing of qualitative datasets. The project also contains a work package concentrating on comparative international research.

In total, the project comprises six work packages that complement each other:

The work packages bolster the objectives set out for FSD in the roadmap for national research infrastructures as well as FSD’s strategy, which emphasises expert service, collaboration and responsible open science.

The project receives funding from the Research Council of Finland's (formerly the Academy of Finland) call FIRI 2018: Infrastructures on Finland’s Roadmap. The funding is based on the Research Infrastructures Roadmap of Finland, which specifies FSD’s role as a national service resource and as a national service provider for the European infrastructure CESSDA ERIC. The C-BoTs project focuses on the development of FSD’s national services. C-BoTS is funded from 1 January 2019 to 31 December 2023.

Widening user base, ensuring interoperability, visibility and impact

FSD will broaden its user base and enhance visibility and impact through training events and seminars organised for users and through collaboration with national and international research infrastructures and other stakeholder groups. Dialogue with existing and potential users is developed with surveys charting user needs. The work package is also aimed at improving usability of services and implementing changes to FSD’s website and services as required by the EU’s web accessibility directive which entered into force in 2019.

FAIR services for FAIR data

FSD will decompose its service architecture into a structure that allows for adoption of external services with greater agility. The new architecture will also significantly simplify allowing external access to FSD services via APIs. The work package also includes developing automatisation of reporting: the visibility of data depositors and their background organisations is improved by offering up-to-date metrics on the use of data.

Applying machine learning for discovering variables

Utilising machine learning, FSD will build a user interface through which it is possible to group similar variables and maintain these groupings, as well as a user interface through which users can search for variables and datasets. The signal processing laboratory of Tampere University with its expertise in AI is a significant partner in this work package.

Exploring aids for anonymisation

FSD will explore existing software for the anonymisation of quantitative and qualitative data, develop its anonymisation workflows, and produce anonymisation guidelines for researchers.

Upgrading the tooling for qualitative data

FSD will upgrade its application Kvalikirstu, which was originally developed in 2011 to assist in archiving and reusing large qualitative datasets. Kvalikirstu 2 will produce data that align with current requirements for long-term preservation, and it will offer an easy-to-use user interface for secondary users of data in English and Finnish. Kvalikirstu 2 will support a greater number of file formats as well as automated generation of background information.

Comparative data services

C-BoTS also contains a work package on comparative research, supporting collaboration with Finnish social science and humanities ERICs as well as participation in two significant international survey programmes: the European Values Study and the International Social Survey Programme.