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Election regulations

in the version dated 17 May 2024.

For conditions governing use of this translation, please note the following:
Translations of these materials into languages other than German are intended solely as a convenience to the non-German-reading public. Any discrepancies or differences that may arise in translation of the official German version of are not binding and have no legal effect for compliance or enforcement purposes.

§ 1

(1) Ten members shall be appointed to the German Data Forum (hereinafter RatSWD) as representatives of the empirical social and economic sciences and ten members as representatives of data producers. The appointment proposals for the representatives of the empirical social and economic sciences shall be determined in a free, secret, and direct ballot. The election will be held as an online election. The RatSWD will decide on the election period (first and last day of a possible vote) no later than six months before the election. The RatSWD may delegate the decision to its chairpersons.

(2) The RatSWD shall determine a returning officer and his or her deputy. They may not run as a candidate for the election of the appointment proposals.

§ 2

The election shall take place every three years. A second and third term of office is permitted.

§ 3

(1) Eligible to vote (actively and passively) are academics with a doctorate (PhD) who work at state-recognised universities (cf. list of members of the German Rectors’ Conference) or in public, independent scientific research institutes in Germany. This also applies to university professors after their retirement.

(2) Eligible to vote (actively and passively) are academics with a doctorate (PhD) who work at departmental research institutions of the Federal Government and the federal states or in research departments of other public institutions in Germany, insofar as the legal basis provided by the institution or legally binding agreements of the respective institution show that the independence of the research is guaranteed.

§ 4

(1) The RatSWD shall keep an electoral register. All those included in the electoral register must meet the requirements outlined in § 3.

(2) Registration shall take place upon written or electronic application up to 14 days before the start of the election. Generally, the date of receipt of the application shall be decisive.

(3) Objections to the electoral register can be raised up to 7 days before the start of the election. The returning officer decides on objections.

§ 5

The election of the scientific members of the RatSWD shall be announced in advance on the website of the RatSWD as well as universities and other institutions of independent scientific research as well as the academic associations. The RatSWD shall compile a list of academic associations entitled to nominate candidates for the election. The RatSWD may decide to admit additional academic associations.

§ 6

Proposals for the election of scientific members of the RatSWD must be submitted to the Chair of the RatSWD no later than 14 days before the start of the election. The academic associations determined by the RatSWD in accordance with § 5 are entitled to nominate candidates, each of which should nominate one suitable woman and one suitable man in order to ensure compliance with the requirements of Bundesgremienbesetzungsgesetz (Act on Appointments to Federal Bodies). Alternatively, ten eligible scientists may jointly submit a nomination to the Chair of the RatSWD. The incumbent RatSWD may submit a list of nominations; this list of nominations must include at least five female and five male candidates. Each nomination must include a declaration by the proposed candidate to accept the appointment, if applicable.

§ 7


(1) The appointment proposals for the representatives of the empirical social and economic sciences in the RatSWD shall be voted on in two lists, one for female representatives and one for male representatives, in a secret ballot.

(2) Each person entitled to vote has two votes for the list of female candidates and two votes for the list of male candidates. They can only cast one vote for each candidate.

(3) The five male and female candidates with the most votes shall be elected. If candidates on one list receive the same number of votes, then the decision shall be made by drawing lots.

(4) The votes shall be counted electronically after the end of the election period.

(5) The elections administrator supervises the election procedure and the ballot and is responsible for ensuring the election’s execution in accordance with the regulations. The business office of the RatSWD shall support the elections administrator in performing these tasks.

(6) The returning officer determines the election result and publishes it on the website in the election portal of the RatSWD (cf. §7 (1)).

§ 8

(1) Once the election period has been determined, the RatSWD shall set up an election portal on its website to prepare for the election and to publicise the election results.

(2) The public part of the election website shall contain

  • the election announcement (published at least 6 months before the start of the election),
  • the application form for entry in the electoral register,
  • the nominations (published 7 days before the start of the election) together with the respective presentation of the person in a format and scope determined by the RatSWD to ensure equal voting rights. The content of the presentation is the responsibility of the proposed candidates.

(3) The non-public part of the election website shall contain

  • the electoral register and the number of persons eligible to vote before the election act
  • measures for technical and organizational data protection during the electoral procedure, particularly authentication checks and granted right of access (User ID) for the electoral procedure
  • the voting process

(4) In consultation with the returning officer, the RatSWD office may commission an external service provider to provide and administer the non-public part of the election portal.

(5) The election documents consist of the election letter with the access data as well as information on conducting the election and using the voting system. The persons authorised to vote will be informed in writing or electronically by the RatSWD or a commissioned external service provider at the beginning of the election.

§ 9

(1) At the start of the election, the returning officer shall determine the number of persons eligible to vote based on the electoral register.

(2) The election proposals shall be published on the website of the RatSWD 7 days before the start of the election. The election proposals contain the names and affiliations of proposed candidates as well as the names and functions of those entitled to vote who support the respective candidates, and, where applicable, also the name of the academic association which proposed the candidate.

§ 10 Final provisions / validity

(1) Objections against the validity of the election can be raised within a period of 14 days starting with the publication of the results of the appointment proposals for the RatSWD on the RatSWD website/election portal.

(2) Objections shall be directed at the chairpersons of the RatSWD in writing. The RatSWD shall rule conclusively on the validity of the election without delay.

(3) The data from those eligible to vote, which is saved for the purpose of voting, shall be deleted 90 days after the validity of the election has been determined by the RatSWD.

(4) The election regulations shall become effective immediately after publication on the RatSWD website in accordance with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Appendix 1: Definition of terms

Independence of research
exists when the freedom of research (Article 5, Paragraph 3, Sentence 1 of the Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany) is guaranteed. This includes “in particular the research question, the principles of methodology as well as the evaluation of the research result and its dissemination.” [1]

Independent scientific research institutes are therefore

  • institutions that are integrated into the German science system
  • are non-profit or fully publicly funded and
  • allow their members the free choice of research questions and adequate methods of analysis according to scientific criteria as well as the publication of research results in generally accessible form. [2]

Research departments
are organisational units of an institution which fulfil the definition of an independent scientific research institute by analogy.

Other public institutions with research departments
are institutions whose research departments meet the definition of an independent scientific research institute by analogy. This includes, for example, state museums.

Departmental research institution
are federal or state institutions with research and development (R&D) tasks that are institutionalised in the form of a public authority within the framework of a hierarchical organisational structure and are thus subject to the specialist supervision of the responsible ministry, or non-university R&D institutions with which departmental research is carried out in continuous cooperation with a ministry. [3] A non-exhaustive overview is provided by the list of members of the Working Group of Departmental Research Institutions. [4] Scientists working at departmental research institutions that do not comply with the principles of research independence are therefore not eligible to vote.

[1] § 4 Abs. 2 Satz 1 Hochschulrahmengesetz (HRG).

[2] based on § 9 Abs. 2 lit. b Wahlordnung für die Wahl der Mitglieder der Fachkollegien der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

[3] see Bericht der Bundesregierung zur Weiterentwicklung der Einrichtungen mit Ressortforschungsaufgaben vom 22.06.2011, S. 1.

[4] see https://www.ressortforschung.de/de/ueber_uns/mitglieder/index.htm.

Appendix 2: Academic associations eligible to nominate candidates

(as of 28 February 2019)

The academic associations determined according to § 5 of the election regulations of the RatSWD shall have the right to propose one suitable female candidate and one suitable male candidate as candidates in accordance with the requirements of the Bundesgremienbesetzungsgesetz (Act on Appointments to Federal Bodies).

  • Akademie für Soziologie (AS)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft (dgekw)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Erziehungswissenschaft (DGfE)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Psychologie (DGMP)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Politikwissenschaft (DGfP)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie (DGPs)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft (DGPuK)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie (DGSKA)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS)
  • Deutsche Statistische Gesellschaft  (DStatG)
  • Deutsche Vereinigung für Politische Wissenschaft (DVPW)
  • Gesellschaft für empirische Bildungsforschung (GEBF)
  • Verband der Hochschullehrerinnen und Hochschullehrer für Betriebswirtschaft (VHB)
  • Verein für Socialpolitik (VfS)

RatSWD election