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Results of the 39th meeting of the German Data Forum: Strengthening International Cooperation and Facilitating Access to Data on Health and Migration

The German Data Forum convened for its 39th meeting on June 11-12, 2014 in Berlin. Key issues included discussing and deciding on an internationalisation strategy and research access to data on health and migration.

The European Research Area and the increasingly international scope of scientific research projects are creating a growing demand for coordinated cooperation and harmonization between the various participants. The German Data Forum has decided to actively support this process by intensifying cooperation with other national data forums, such as the UK Data Forum, and other international stakeholders. Aside from strategic coordination, the planned cooperation aims at supporting and critically evaluating European and international policy-making, for example the trilogue on the European Data Protection Regulation.

The German Data Forum is the first German organization to join the international and interdisciplinary Research Data Alliance. It became an institutional member of the organization in February 2015. In order to foster networking activities with the RDA and other international initiatives, the German Data Forum will take part in the upcoming European RDA plenary meeting on September 23-25, 2015 in Paris.

The German Data Forum advanced its exchange with the National Cohort (Nationale Kohorte, NaKo). The German Data Forum welcomes its decision to open up data access for researchers. The potential of these data for empirical research – including the social, behavioural, and economic sciences – is considerable.

The German Data Forum has found a strong partner in the working group “Collection and Use of Secondary Data” (AGENS) to establish access to research data on health and health care for scientific research. The German Data Forum supports the objectives of AGENS and the TMF (Technology and Methodology Platform for Networked Medical Research) which aim at facilitating access to data from statutory health insurances according to strict data protection standards. AGENS and the German Data Forum agreed on close future cooperation. The German Data Forum has also established contact to representatives of the research data center of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. The German Data Forum highly values the research data center’s data collection and scientific output. In light of the current debate on refugees, empirically grounded, scientific analyses are more necessary than ever. It is therefore crucial to facilitate research data access in this field. Together with the Federal Office, the German Data Forum aims at improving access paths to migration data for external researchers.

The German Data Forum’s next meeting will take place on December, 3-4 2015 in Nuremberg.