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RatSWD warns of impending fee increase at Research Data Centres of the statistical network

The German Data Forum (Rat für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsdaten, RatSWD) expresses concern about the planned adjustment of the fee structure at the Research Data Centres (RDCs) of the Federal and State Statistical Offices. The Scientific Advisory Group (WBK) of the RDCs had drawn attention to a planned significant increase in fees for data and associated services.

The reason for the change in the fee structure is the failure of the RDCs of the federal states to meet the specified refinancing quotas. This is due, among other things, to continuously rising costs for data provision while user fees have remained constant since 2011.

In the view of the RatSWD, the solution cannot be a significant increase in costs for data users, as the fees for data use by the scientific community and in particular for smaller and less financially strong institutions already represent a hurdle. Instead, a research-friendly solution should be developed in cooperation with the scientific community, the science ministries of the federal states and the supervisory authorities of the statistical offices of the federal states. The RatSWD also proposes a discussion on increasing the resources for RDCs and anchoring the RDCs in the statistical offices via the Research Data Act.

The full commentary is available for free download on the RatSWD website. Link


The German Data Forum (RatSWD) has been advising the German federal government and the governments of the German states on questions of research data infrastructure for the empirical social, behavioural and economic sciences since 2004. In the RatSWD, ten representatives of the social, behavioural and economic disciplines, legitimised by election, work together with ten representatives of data production.

The RatSWD is part of the Consortium for the Social, Behavioural, Educational and Economic Sciences (KonsortSWD) in the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI). It sees itself as an institutionalised forum for dialogue between science and data producers and develops recommendations and statements. In doing so, it is committed to an infrastructure that provides science with broad, flexible and secure access to data. These data are provided by governmental, science-based and private-sector actors. Currently, the RatSWD has accredited 41 research data centres and promotes their cooperation.