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New platform to accelerate social and cultural research

coding text and a person typing on a keyboard

Europe’s latest digital platform, which aims to provide unparalleled access to data and services for humanities and social science research, has officially launched.

A new discovery platform that enables social sciences and humanities scholars to deliver cutting-edge research like never before has officially launched.

Featuring a suite of sophisticated tools, services, training materials, datasets, publications and workflows, the platform will help social science scholars share, process and analyze data across all disciplines.

With many social science and humanities practitioners working in silos, Europe’s fragmented research landscape often results in workflows and methodologies not being re-used and discoveries taking longer than necessary. But now, this new digital platform will allow researchers anywhere in Europe to leverage resources and skills beyond their communities and work across many disciplines more efficiently.

Called the Social Sciences and Humanities Open Cluster Marketplace (SSH Open Marketplace), the platform is one of the outcomes of the European Commission’s €14 million investment to develop a dedicated social science and humanities open cloud.

Laure Barbot, project coordinator for the SSH Open Marketplace, said:

“A researcher looking for a textual analysis tool will find not only a fully-comprehensive treatment of the most appropriate tools in current use but also associated resources such as user guides, reviews of the tools by fellow researchers, and perhaps even a case study on how to use such tools.”

Launched with approximately 5,000 records, the Marketplace provides a range of contextualized solutions, addressing user queries by presenting the most relevant and useful information pathways.

Some of the most popular resources on the Marketplace include the Dataset, a dataset containing metadata descriptions of cultural heritage digital objects from more than 4000 cultural heritage institutions throughout Europe; ‘Gephi’, a visualization and exploration software for all kinds of graphs and networks; a multilingual enrichment service, ‘ISIDORE’, which collects, enriches and highlights digital data and documents from the humanities and social sciences;  workflows, for example, on how to create a dictionary called ‘Create a dictionary in TEI’.

Cloud-Based Research

Operating entirely on the cloud, the platform allows collaboration from users at different institutions, regardless of location. Researchers can work on the same project and access shared resources, training materials, datasets, services, and tools.

The new Marketplace is a major step toward making social science and humanities research open access and cloud-based. It will allow researchers to gain new insights and innovations, higher research productivity, and improved reproducibility.

Community curators will handle the long-term running of the platform. At the same time, all resource providers and creators are encouraged to use the portal to increase their visibility within their subject communities.

Jennifer Edmond, DARIAH ERIC Director, said:

“It is a unique success story for DARIAH, CLARIN, and CESSDA to have jointly agreed to contribute to the maintenance and sustainability of the SSH Open Marketplace after the end of the SSHOC project. We envision a lively community boosting the SSH Open Marketplace not only for the benefit of the SSH domain but also as an integral part of the larger European Open Science Cloud where it will align with many other disciplines”.

An activity within the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), the Marketplace connects with the EOSC Catalogue & Marketplace and other services. The three European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERICs), CESSDA, CLARIN, and DARIAH, have taken responsibility for the SSH Open Marketplace and will work on extending the user base and the content of the service.

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