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Strategic Agenda 2017–2020

The German Data Forum is an advisory council to the federal government that advises policy-makers on matters concerning the continuous improvement of data access and research infrastructures in empirical research in the social, behavioural, and economic sciences. The advisory services in the German Data Forum’s portfolio also include support of law-making processes in the research data context on a national and European level. Moreover, the German Data Forum strives to spark debates on the impact of technological developments on research and research infrastructures, data protection, and research ethics.

Permanent Core Functions

New data sources and data access for researchers

Access to research-relevant data has significantly improved in recent years. However, restrictions on data access persist in key areas such as education, migration, and health. The German Data Forum aims at improving institutionalised data access for researchers in line with the requirements of data protection.

Supporting the development of the research data infrastructure

The German Data Forum is observing a considerable dynamic in the development of research data infrastructures. The level of standardisation in data provision is advancing on a national and European level. The German Data Forum is participating in the development of a National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) and represents the interests of social, behavioural, and economic research.

Monitoring of technological and methodological developments

The German research data infrastructure in the social, economic, and behavioural sciences has reached a high methodological level. The digitisation of research is creating new opportunities. The German Data Forum is monitoring and supporting methodological and technological developments in its research data centres in accordance with data protection regulations.

Advising legislators during the law-making process

The German Data Forum is committed to ensuring that the demands of empirical research and the research data infrastructure are systematically taken into account in the law-making process. Since national and European policy-making processes require swift and well-founded reactions, the German Data Forum will create a legal task force that analyses relevant bills and issue statements directed at policy-makers.

Participation in international initiatives and international networking

On an international level, the German Data Forum is committed to creating a network that gives empirical research a voice and increases its political visibility. It regularly exchanges experience with the UK Data Forum and contributes its expertise to international initiatives, for example, as an institutional member of the Research Data Alliance (RDA).

Following-up on debates sparked by the German Data Forum

During its past appointment periods, the German Data Forum has made contributions to a range of topics. These include data protection, research ethics, the 2021 Census in Germany, research data management, handling of qualitative research data and the advancement of the panel survey landscape. Our contributions have often sparked debates, to which we will continue to contribute in the future.

Annual report on the accredited research data centres

The monitoring commission of the Standing Committee Research Data Infrastructure (FDI Committee) annually collects and evaluates data from the accredited research data centres. Based on these data, the German Data Forum issues a yearly report, which contains key figures on the research data infrastructure and discusses new developments. Moreover, the commission reviews complaints by data users.

8th Conference for Social and Economic Data (8|KSWD) in 2020

The German Data Forum periodically hosts the Conference for Social and Economic Data (KSWD). The conference is a cornerstone of current scientific debates in the context of the empirical social, behavioural, and economic sciences and data production. It serves as a forum for the interdisciplinary discourse between researchers, producers of official statistics, and policy-makers

Key Areas

The German Data Forum issues recommendations, reports, and position papers on a range of subjects that target different audiences. These include scientific communities, policymakers, and administrators as well as the research data centres accredited by the German Data Forum.

During its 6th appointment period, the German Data Forum will focus on the following key areas. The German Data Forum has set up working groups in each of these areas to tackle pressing issues with its interdisciplinary expertise.