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Accessing and utilising firm data for science

RatSWD Working Group in the 8th appointment period (2023–2026)

Firm data is already playing an increasingly important role in the research of many disciplines and the potential for further innovative research is significant. While the potential is increasingly being realised internationally, in Germany the limited access restricts the potential for analysis.

In addition to data about companies (e.g., costs, employment, profits, taxes), data from business processes also offer significant analytical potential for research. Examples include mobility data, geospatial data, scanner data, and data from social networks. Companies themselves use these data to further develop, for example, AI tools. Although the value of this data for research is undisputed, there is some reluctance in the business sector when it comes to granting access to the data for research purposes and, in particular, to introduce legal regulations on data sharing.

Suitable framework conditions for cooperation between science and industry that meet the needs of both sides need to be identified. Recommendations for legal regulations or data intermediary structures to promote data sharing are to be developed in dialogue with industry representatives. Case studies will be used to illustrate the diverse potential of firm data for all disciplines represented in the German Data Forum (RatSWD).

Output: Inventory of firm data for scientific purposes, published as part of the RatSWD Output Series, development of position papers and organisation of a workshop.