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Actively shaping politics and data culture: German Data Forum (RatSWD) adopts its new strategic agenda

In its 7th appointment period, the German Data Forum (RatSWD) will specifically address issues of empirical research in politics and legislation, new challenges in data collection, and will advocate for a change in data culture. Recommendations should be developed regarding research ethics, research data management, and the scientific use of unstructured data and register data. The German Data Forum (RatSWD) will closely involve the research community in all activities. The strategic agenda 2020-2023 was adopted at the 58th meeting of the German Data Forum (RatSWD) on 10.12.2020.

In the new strategic agenda for the 7th appointment period (2020-2023), the German Data Forum (RatSWD) defines ten permanent tasks in order to sharpen its role as an advisory council to the federal government within the Consortium for Social, (KonsortSWD). The consulting portfolio of the German Data Forum (RatSWD) includes issues of data access and data infrastructure, as well as their further development. In addition, it initiates dialogues at the interface of data production, data use, data protection, and research ethics. Moreover, via the German Data Forum (RatSWD), the research communities of the KonsortSWD are specifically integrated into the further development of the research data infrastructure. The task force law of the German Data Forum (RatSWD) will also incorporate the specific concerns of empirical research into national and European politics and legislation.

Five working groups will work on the priorities of the 7th appointment period of the German Data Forum (RatSWD): the working group for the scientific use and linking of register data will bring the needs of research into the debates on register modernisation. It will also develop recommendations for politics based on use cases. Another working group will address the special challenges that arise when collecting and using unstructured data such as images, tweets, and data that derives from data donations or open online panels. In this context, a workshop with researchers to evaluate the quality and significance of such data is planned.

The German Data Forum (RatSWD) also faces current social challenges in its 7th appointment period: with its working group for networking empirical social science research in societal crises, the German Data Forum (RatSWD) continues to build on its previous commitment in the context of research on the Corona pandemic.

To promote the in the social, behavioural, and economic sciences, a working group of the German Data Forum (RatSWD) will create a guide for professional research data management (RDM) specifically for researchers in small projects. Furthermore, the research ethics working group will use systematic needs assessments to develop recommendations and guidelines for the establishment and work of local ethics committees. It will also address framework conditions for the long-term establishment of an exchange forum on research ethics.

The complete strategic agenda of the 7th appointment period of the German Data Forum (RatSWD) can be found here: https://www.konsortswd.de/en/about/ratswd/strategic-agenda-2020-2023/


The German Data Forum (RatSWD) advises the federal government and the governments in the federal states on expanding and improving the research data infrastructure for the empirical social, behavioural and economic sciences since 2004. The German Data Forum (RatSWD) is made up of ten elected representatives from the social, behavioural, and economic disciplines who work together with ten representatives from key data producers.

The German Data Forum (RatSWD) is part of the Consortium for Social, Behavioural, Educational, and Economic sciences (KonsortSWD) in the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI). It acts as an institutionalised forum for dialogue between science and data producers, as well as developing recommendations and opinions. It is committed to supporting an infrastructure that enables sciences to have broad, flexible, and secure data access. These data are provided by state, science-based, and private-sector actors. The German Data Forum (RatSWD) has currently accredited 38 research data centres (as of December 2020), and encourages their cooperation.

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