EURHISFIRM (Historical high-quality company-level data for Europe) was a design study to build a worldclass research infrastructure (RI) compliant to the FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable) data principles. The project aimed to increase the accessibility and usability of historical company-level data (financial, governance, and geographical) and to expand the available pool of this data. 
At the data and platform levels of the RI, the design study: 

  • Provided the architecture for FAIR long-run European company-level data enabling the users to connect and combine information from different sources; 
  • Developed an intelligent and collaborative system for the extraction and enrichment of data, either from historical paper sources or from web-based resources;
  • Developed and maintains data quality standards and models for collecting, matching, and connecting data on a European scale. 

The focal point of the RI was the integration of financial and corporate governance information with data on the location of firms, reflecting, over the long run, the interaction between financial markets and the real economy. To achieve this, the project executed a number of different data studies, such as selecting the appropriate metadata standards, evaluating possible sources for current and future studies, establishing a common data model based on an in-depth study of data semantics, testing the technology for digitising printed data and putting them into a federated database system, connecting the existing databases as well as the potential for linking with future ones, surveying stakeholders on their preferences concerning the RI’s characteristics, assessing the appropriate business model, designing the architecture and security systems, analysing the potential for cultural heritage valorisation, as well as examining the ethical implications of data privacy rights. The project also completed other operational tasks such as outreach and communication, as well as project management and adherence to the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable) principles outlined in the data management plans. In the subsequent phases, the project plans to further concretise this design in order to connect, collect, collate, align, and share detailed, reliable, and standardised long-term company-level data for European stakeholders: policy makers, scholars, and private companies. 

Central to the EURHISFIRM design was its commitment to fully integrate into the broader European RI ecosystem. It strived towards active involvement in European research infrastructure developments in order to integrate the latest European research technologies and to exploit increasing network effects in Europe. Furthermore, it set-out to build a scientific community based on open science principles to encourage cross-collaboration among researchers in order to enrich scientific contributions and advancements in the social sciences. To this end, the project recognised the importance of collaborating with existing RI projects, policy initiatives (e.g., the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC)), social science Long-term data for Europe and other pan-European and national structures in order to ensure the enrichment and long-term sustainability of European RI research.

In its subsequent phases, EURHISFIRM plans to continue further working relationships with other pertinent organisations and developments, in particular with CESSDA ERIC (which is a member of the EURHISFIRM consortium) and the SSH Open Cloud (to which EURHISFIRM contributes).

More Information

More information on the project, including an extensive list of publications and reports can be found on the EURHISFIRM website

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