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Results of the 40th Meeting: Challenges arising from refugee influx can only be met with good scientific data

At its 40th meeting on 3rd and 4th December 2015 in Nuremberg, the German Data Forum demanded to improve research access to data collected by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF). The current scope of the refugee influx to Europe and Germany will impact society in many ways. Policy makers have to able to react swiftly and with foresight. A lack of evidence-based analyses and scientific advising might jeopardize policy makers’ ability to cope with the complex task of integrating refugees.

Further results and main points of the 40th meeting of the German Data Forum included:

  • The accreditation of two new Research Data Centres by the German Data Forum
  • The improvement of legal requirements for research data access
  • Access to data from health and health services research

The Research Data and Data Service Centre of the German Federal Bank (Deutsche Bundesbank) and the Research Data Centres of the Leibniz-Institute for Economic Research Halle (Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Halle, IWH) have now been added to the list of 31 existing data centres accredited by the German Data Forum. The German Data Forum welcomes the new arrivals and the ongoing expansion of the research data infrastructure in Germany.

Moreover, the German Data Forum focused on the legal requirements for research data access on the national and European level. The German Data Forum regrets that there is no prospect of making research a task of the Federal Statistical Office by law in the course of the upcoming revision of the Federal Statistical Law (Bundesstatistikgesetz, BStatG). The German Data Forum continues to seek support for this objective.

The adoption of the EU Data Protection Regulation is now in its final phase. The German Data Forum has previously issued numerous statements to push due consideration of concerns of the scientific community. This includes a broad interpretation of the underlying criteria of the purpose limitation statute and the consent required for scientific use of data. The German Data Forum has been in an on-going exchange with members of the European Parliament. It will continue to actively support the process with recommendations on how to improve research conditions in Europe.

The German Data Forum has continued its activities to improve access to health data in an on-going exchange with the German Institute of Medical Documentation and Information (DIMDI) which provides data from the German health insurance system to researchers on the basis of the Data Transparency Act (Datentransparenzverordnung, DaTraV). Structural and legal requirements were identified. The German Data Forum will continue to support DIMDI in the process.