The German Data Forum published its second comprehensive activities report [German] on the research data infrastructure that it coordinates. The activities report is based on an annual reporting system, which the 31 accredited research data centres feed in to. It serves to secure data quality and to identify opportunities for further developing the research data infrastructure.
The range of data provided by the RDCs – which cover the whole range of research fields in the empirical social, behavioural and economic sciences – and the use of those data are developing well. In 2016, then 30 RDCs made a total of 3,214 datasets accessible to science and research. RDCs employed 225.7 people (full-time equivalents) and supported the research of 26,281 data users. They reported 1,833 publications based on their data in 2016.
Making access to data as simple as possible is a prerequisite for their extensive use by researchers. For access to particularly sensitive data, 23 out of 30 RDCs provide secure workstations, which researchers can use for on-site analysis. This gives researchers from the social, behavioural and economic sciences regulated access to certain research data that they could not access otherwise.
The German Data Forum has recently conducted and extensive revision of its quality assurance measures and accreditation criteria. The accreditation as well as monitoring, evaluation and complaint management processes have been outlined in the report “Qualitätssicherung der vom Rat für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsdaten (RatSWD) akkreditierten Forschungsdatenzentren (FDZ)“, which was published in German in June 2017. They are available in English online: https://www.ratswd.de/en/data-infrastructure/quality-assurance