PDI-SSH funding for proposal of Hassink, Oberski and Van Witteloostuijn

Digital data collection infrastructure

Groen gaaswerk van touw dat digitale knooppunten symboliseert
Foto: Clint Adair, via Unsplash.

The board of the PDI- SSH Foundation has honoured  12 applications in the Call Digital Infrastructure SSH. Prof. Dr. Wolter Hassink (faculty of Law, Economics and Governance), Dr. Daniel Oberski (faculty of Social and Behavourial Sciences and member of the Utrecht Young Academy), both from Utrecht University and Prof. Dr. Arjen van Witteloostuijn (School of Business and Economics VU Amsterdam) will receive funding for their project proposal  FIRMBACKBONE: digital data collection infrastructure on Dutch companies.

The activities for the project are for a period of five years. The total budget for the project is around 1 million euros.

FIRMBACKBONE: digital data collection infrastructure on Dutch companies 

The digitalisation of the economy has enabled novel methods of data collection of companies. Such digital economic data are both detailed (wide) and broad in scope (long). However, applied researchers in economics and adjacent fields currently lack access to a comprehensive and longitudinal data source about Dutch companies.

The purpose of this project is to build an organically growing longitudinal data-infrastructure of information on Dutch companies. A backbone will be created that contains a list of company names that are publicly accessible and that can be used for web scraping.

The researchers involved will enrich the data by public information of annual reports and other data, such as financial reports. Researchers making use of the backbone will enrich it with data they have collected, for example using surveys or tailor-made indicators. Quality control will be performed in collaboration with CBS.


The data will be accessible to academic researchers under an access protocol within the secure high-performance ODISSEI Data Facility hosted at Surf. Collaboration with the existing research-infrastructure ODISSEI will ensure adequate data protection, governance, and long- term sustainability.

Collaboration with ODISSEI, a social science infrastructure that currently lacks economic information, opens up new avenues for cross-disciplinary research linking individual-level (micro)data with firm-level information.

About PDI-SSH 

PDI-SSH (Platform Digitale Infrastructuur Social Science and Humanities) is developing a short- and long-term strategy for digital infrastructure in the Netherlands, taking into account ideas and wishes for existing and new digital infrastructure facilities within the SSH domain. It allocates resources to digital infrastructural facilities within the SSH field. This may involve both strengthening and scaling up existing initiatives and setting up new initiatives.

PDI-SSH takes care of cooperation and coordination of digital infrastructural provisions, both in existing and new initiatives. This also involves coordination with, among others, DANS, the Netherlands eScience Center, and SURF.