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Up-to-date Data Protection Guidelines for Empirical Research released

The German Data Forum (RatSWD) has fundamentally revised its Data Protection Guide and adapted it to the new European legal framework. The guideline provides a brief overview of the data protection principles and their implications for social, behavioural, and economic research practices. With this publication, the German Data Forum (RatSWD) is pursuing the goal of strengthening data protection skills when planning research projects and handling sensitive, personal data. The Data Protection Guide is openly accessible on the German Data Forum (RatSWD) website.

The German Data Forum (RatSWD) has revised its Data protection Guide, which was first published in 2017, and adapted it to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the amended data protection laws in Germany. The update reflects the current state of legal discourse, which will remain very dynamic due to the scope and timeliness of the EU data protection reform.

The update was made in response to the high demand: both in print format and online to download, the Data Protection Guide has been one of the most popular publications of the German Data Forum (RatSWD) in recent years. It was originally created with the help of the collective German Data Forum (RatSWD) expertise from research data centres addressing scientific reuse and data protection, and thus offers practical support in empirical research. The update was created by data protection experts Matthias Bäcker and Sebastian Golla in close coordination with the wide expertise at the German Data Forum (RatSWD).

The publication provides a brief overview of the relevant aspects of data protection law in social, behavioural, and economic research practice. For this purpose, it explains the data protection principles according to the European General Data Protection Regulation, the most important applicable legal regulations in addition to the GDPR, the basic terms of data protection in research, and the data processor’s obligations. Oriented to everyday research, the Guide is centered on the elements of data protection in acquisition, preparation, publication, archiving, and secondary use of data. Further literature references allow the aforementioned elements to be expanded upon. The guide underlines that the data protection review is indispensable- and manageable- for every empirical research project. One goal of the publication is to open the way to legally compliant data reuse.