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Strategic Agenda of the 8th appointment period 2023–2026

In its 8th appointment period, the German Data Forum (RatSWD) will focus on solutions for making different types of data available and linking them.

RatSWD Arbeitsprogramm 2023-2026Five working groups will develop recommendations on health data, data for crises, firm data, policy data and a data trustee model for science. Three task forces will also deal with specific cross-cutting topics. The German Data Forum will closely involve the research community in all activities.

Download Strategic Agenda 2023–2026 [german]



Working groups

Permanent tasks

1. New data sources and data access for researchers

Access to research-relevant data has improved significantly in recent years. However, there are still restrictions on data access for key topics such as education, migration and healthcare. The German Data Forum (RatSWD) is working towards improvements in institutionalised data access for science that meet data protection requirements.

2. Advising legislators during the law-making process

The German Data Forum works to ensure that the interests of empirical research and the research data infrastructure are systematically taken into account in the legislative process. Because a quick and well-founded reaction is required to accompany national and European legislative processes, the RatSWD has set up a Policy and Law Task Force. This task force analyses relevant draft bills for the RatSWD and prepares position papers. The discussions and topics initiated are monitored by the RatSWD over time.

3. Involvement of the scientific community in KonsortSWD

The German Data Forum has taken on the important task of involving the community within the framework of KonsortSWD. It involves the scientific community through the participatory legitimisation of its representatives and through close cooperation with the specialist societies. The RatSWD benefits from the fact that half of its members were elected on the recommendation of the relevant scientific societies and therefore have close ties to them. Involving the community also happens during RatSWD meetings and in the course of work in the working groups.

4. Participating in initiatives and coordination with international actors

With its extensive competence and knowledge of social, behavioural, educational and economic sciences in Germany, the German Data Forum is a central point of contact for international initiatives in the field of data policy, e.g. as an organisational member of the Research Data Alliance (RDA). The RatSWD will keep an eye on the question of how the internationalisation of the data infrastructure can be driven forward and how the disciplines represented in the RatSWD can be involved in European developments such as the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). It is setting up an International Task Force to strengthen international activities.

5. Accreditation of research data centres and quality assurance of the created research data infrastructure

In order to ensure the quality of the research data infrastructure, the German Data Forum has developed standards and criteria for the accreditation of research data centres (RDCs), which it reviews and updates periodically. Taking into account the recommendations of the Committee for Data Access (FDI Committee), the RatSWD decides on the accreditation of new RDCs. The RatSWD evaluates the overall development of its research data infrastructure by conducting the annual monitoring of the research data centres and making decisions in the event of complaints regarding compliance with the accreditation criteria.

6. Monitoring of technological and methodological developments

Digitisation harbours great opportunities and potential for innovation, as new data sources are opened up and analysis methods are (further) developed. These data and methods offer immense potential for scientific research. The German Data Forum incorporates the methodological and technological development in the research data centres, taking data protection into account.

7. Organisation of the 10th Conference on Social and Economic Data 2026

The RatSWD and KonsortSWD are continuing the series of conferences on social and economic data (KSWD). The conference serves to discuss current scientific topics in the context of empirical social, behavioural, educational and economic research and data production. The conference offers a joint forum for science, industry, government statistics, politics and (civil) society.

The 10th KSWD is to be held in 2026.

8. Reflection on research-related values and norms

In the social, behavioural, educational and economic sciences, research ethics issues are increasingly being addressed in order to prevent research from causing harm to individuals, groups or entire societies.

At the same time, science-related values and norms such as freedom of research, open science and open data play a central role in the design of infrastructure. For example, the German Data Forum has already presented an overall concept for research ethics principles and review procedures in the social and economic sciences and offers a comprehensive collection of materials for ethics committees and researchers on the topic. The RatSWD sees itself as an organisation that raises awareness of research ethics and aims to create a forum for national and international exchange on research ethics issues.

The German Data Forum will continue to support researchers in the future by contributing to a change in culture and values that supports research, but also by developing guidelines for action.

9. Promoting data governance

The German Data Forum is committed to the holistic handling of research data with the aim of ensuring the quality, protection and security of data and guaranteeing compliance with data protection regulations. By promoting comprehensive data governance, the organisational and legal framework conditions and requirements for the sharing and reuse of data in the disciplines of the RatSWD are to be further advanced.