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SSH RIs in Switzerland


In spring 2022, a coordination group consisting of the directors of national research infrastructures (RIs) in the SSH, the national coordinators of international SSH RIs with Swiss participation (CESSDA, CLARIN, DARIAH, ESS, SHARE, GGP) and the representatives of the Swiss Academy for the SSH was created. 


This working group has started a reflexion in order gather the SSH community and to defend its interests with respect to RIs. This is being done through a series of events and a position paper, as follows:


1. The first event, which took place on Mai 31, 2022, gathered several stakeholders - researchers, representatives of academic and research institutions, the SNSF, SERI and Euresearch. You can find here the slides of the meeting.


2. The position paper was written in spring 2022 and circulated in the SSH community to collect for support signatures in August 2022. Downlowd it here to read it. 

3. The second event, which took place on 18 January 2023, had the theme "Paving the way for the future". It aimed at learning about concrete infrastructure proposals and exchanging on how we can coordinate within the Swiss SSH community to create synergies between different concrete projects. Concretely, this meeting had three main objectives.

  • Raise awareness on the importance of research infrastructure in the SSH domain and how prioritisation and funding works (national and ESFRI roadmap process)

  • Share experiences from other countries and the European level on how collaborations between projects and infrastructures work

  • Give a platform to potential new Swiss RIs in the SSH domain in order to reflect on needs of the SSH community and how to create synergies and join forces

To reach these objectives, we welcomed four invited speakers from abroad, who  shared their experience of how collaboration and clustering happened successfully in other countries and at the European level. In addition, the floor was given to several Swiss projects of RIs in the SSH field with the aim to reflect on user needs and possible synergies. The day ended with a Round Table with an open discussion, in which invited guests from the SNSF, the SERI, swissuniversities, the SAGW and all members of the audience will have the opportunity to express themselves. Have a look at the Programme, Franciska de Jong's slides, Matej Ďurčo's slides and Tom Emery's slides

4. Following the example of the European SSHOC project (2019-2022) and of the recently granted Dutch SSHOC-NL project, we put forward the idea of moving towards a SSHOC-CH national organisation. SSHOC-CH is aimed as a national collaboration between social sciences and humanities in order to implement a SSHOC-CH consortium of research infrastructures and of higher education institutions. Such a SSHOC-CH organization is necessary in order to facilitate the access of the SSH fields and its sub-fields to a satisfactory national ecosystem of services, data and tools in the future years. Nevertheless, the success of such a national enterprise depends on the cooperation among the members of the Swiss SSH scientific and infrastructural community, as it was highlighted in the position paper and proved successful in the case of SSHOC-NL (read here the project application). 

With this vision, we will a kick-off meeting took place in autumn 2023, which gathered members from the scientific community, national RIs providing services for the Swiss SSH scientific community, and from the national nodes of European SSH RIs who are interested in supporting and getting involved in this project. ​

5. Following the meeting that took place in autumn 2023, where all stakeholders supported the creation of the SSHOC-CH Association, we take the necessary steps to move forward. A half-day workshop on the need and the future of infrastructures for the social sciences and humanities community in Switzerland will take place on April 24, 2024 in Bern. 

Behind the disciplinary differences regarding data types, technologies, methodologies, and research questions, scholars from social sciences and humanities face similar challenges when it comes to complying to Open Science requirements. Be it survey data, experimental data, digital editions, text data, multi-modal data, images, historical records, social media data, large language models, so on and so forth, infrastructure and expertise are required to create, process, analyze, store, and archive them. 

In Switzerland, infrastructure and expertise are available in the so-called national infrastructures such as FORS, SWISSUbase, DaSCH and LiRI, but also local infrastructures and long-term projects such as Collection Builder, Fondue, Geovistory, nodegoat, Année politique Suisse, swiss vote, histHub, the four national dictionnaries, dodis, metagrid, and various digital editions, to name but a few. 


However, there is a lack of active exchange between these infrastructures in order to develop joint, uncomplicated solutions for research and to catch up with European solutions. The Social Science & Humanities Open Cloud Switzerland (SSHOC-CH) is in the process of being established and it aims at finding synergies and fostering collaborations between the social sciences and humanities, and to building an ecosystem of national infrastructures and expertise which will support scholars from social sciences and humanities in their research and in managing their data in the spirit of Open Science and FAIR principles.

The SSHOC-CH Coordination Group consists of Georg Lutz (FORS), Cristina Grisot (CLARIN-CH & DARIAH-CH), Stefanie Steinmetz (GGP, UNIL), Noah Bubenhofer (LiRI, UZH) and Sacha Zala (Dodis).


For more information about the initiative and how to get involved, please write to Cristina Grisot or Georg Lutz.

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