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The RatSWD decided to establish a monitoring commission for quality assurance in July 2016. Its main task is to collect and evaluate regular reports from the RDCs. The commission is also responsible for monitoring whether the requirements for preliminary accreditations are met.

The commission is elected for three years simultaneously to the German Data Forum’s appointment period. It consists of four members of the FDI Committee, two deputy members (to replace elected members, if required) and the German Data Forum’s chairs as guests.

The FDI Committee elects a monitoring commission which manages:

1. The annual monitoring of all accredited RDCs

Annual reporting

All accredited RDCs shall answer an annual questionnaire reviewing its services and activities of the previous year by 31 March.

  • The German Data Forum’s monitoring commission examines the RDCs’ annual reports and delivers an activity report on this basis.
  • The monitoring commission also examines if there are major deficiencies within the activities of the RDCs. If the monitoring process identifies such deficiencies within the RDC, the affected RDC shall be notified and required to issue a written statement.
    • The procedure is concluded if the RDC presents convincing explanations for the points raised.
    • If the monitoring commission continues to identify deficiencies in the RDCs data and services, the German Data Forum shall be notified in order to initiate an evaluation process.

2. Complaints about data access policies at RDCs

Complaints office

If data users identify major deficiencies in the data of an accredited research data center, they should first try to address these directly and find a solution. If a solution cannot be found, the matter shall be submitted to the German Data Forum’s complaints office. The complaints office’s mandate is limited to matters of compliance with the accreditation criteria of the German Data Forum (RatSWD).

Further information on the RatSWD complaints office

Evaluation commission

The German Data Forum (RatSWD) convenes an evaluation commission on a case-by-case basis, for example, if it has identified major deficiencies in the data supplied by a RDC. As a general rule, the commission shall consist of members of the German Data Forum (RatSWD) and the FDI Committee. However, it is also possible to include external experts. The composition of the commission safeguards the competent assessment of the RDC’s work on a case-by-case basis. Overlap between members of the monitoring commission and the evaluation commission is to be avoided.

Evaluation following an application by the monitoring commission

All accredited RDCs shall answer an annual questionnaire on their services and activities of the previous year by March 31st.

  • If the review of the annual reports by the monitoring commission results in the identification of significant deficiencies in a RDC, the German Data Forum (RatSWD) convenes the evaluation commission which is put in charge of the further procedure.
  • If the evaluation commission concludes that the deficiency can be remediated, it can recommend specific measures to be taken to remediate the deficiency within a predetermined period, provided that the RDC has indicated its ability to remediate the deficiency. A possible recommendation, which must be the result of a majority decision, could be to maintain accreditation if the deficiency is remediated within a predetermined period.
    • If the RDC is in effect unable or unwilling to remediate the deficiency, the procedure is concluded and a recommendation for withdrawal of the accreditation (revocation) is submitted to the German Data Forum (RatSWD).
    • If the deficiency can be remediated at a later stage, application for accreditation of the German Data Forum (RatSWD) can be renewed.
Evaluation following an application by the RDC

If a RDC files an application for evaluation, the German Data Forum (RatSWD) shall convene an evaluation commission within a three-month period. The evaluation commission then delivers a report to the German Data Forum assessing the RDC’s level of development. The applicant RDC shall bear the costs for this.