About the Virtual Competence Center

Virtual Competence Center

The purpose of the Virtual Legal and Ethics Competence Center (VCC) to be established is to support the SSH community in dealing with legal and ethical challenges faced when working with new and existing sensitive data types (e.g. traditional self-reported data, measurements, web data, nonreactive data, paradata, audio-visual data, linked or administrative data). While collecting, analyzing, and linking these data can lead to new and interesting insights, it means that researchers, field institutes, or archives and repositories need to take a large number of legal and ethical issues into account: thus, for example, country-specific legal restrictions exist as to which data can be collected and disseminated, and the procedures for obtaining ethical review board approval for the collection of data from human subjects may differ from country to country. The VCC will support those involved in the collection, processing, storage, and dissemination of such sensitive data with the increasing amount of routine legal and ethical procedures to be expected by providing a knowledge base that systematically collects and makes available relevant country-specific legal information and information on ethical issues.


This project brings together all 5 ESFRI research infrastructure initiatives in the social sciences and humanities (SSH) represented each by some centers: CLARIN, DARIAH, CESSDA, ESS, SHARE. The goal is to determine areas of possible synergies in the infrastructure development and to work on a few concrete joint activities. Joint activities will be along the following dimensions: understanding the different architectural solutions, assessing and improving data and metadata quality, setting up a tools and services forum, improve the quality of survey data, locate and improve data preservation and curation services, develop a joint shared data access and enrichment framework (AAI, PIDs, joint Metadata, Workflow implementations, joint annotation framework), jointly work on legal and ethical aspects, carry out much training and education work, work on disseminating the results.