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Access to Research Data

Improving access to high quality data for science as an overarching goal of the RatSWD

The German Data Forum’s (RatSWD) overarching goal is to improve access to high-quality research data. To this end, the RatSWD mediates between the interests of researchers and producers of data and is responsible for the nationwide coordination of the strategic development of the German research data landscape in the social, behavioural and economic sciences.

Additionally, the RatSWD plays a key role in the initiation and establishment of the standards for collection, storage, provision, and quality assurance of research data. Through combined technical and organizational solution models, researchers are offered user-friendly, quality-assured data access in the provided Research Data Centres (FDZ).

Although the RatSWD has made great progress in improving access to research data, many relevant information sources still lie dormant and remain inaccessible for researchers. One key task of the RatSWD is to expand access to institutional information and datasets, as well as the further development of existing data access. It lays particular focus on subject areas that are relevant for both science and policy.

Health data

Dialogue with stakeholders

Recommendations of the German Data Forum (RatSWD)

  • Press release
    German Data Forum agrees on new cooperation activities and initiatives to improve the research data infrastructure
  • Press release
    Results of the 39th meeting of the German Data Forum: Strengthening International Cooperation and Facilitating Access to Data on Health and Migration
  • Press release
    Results of the 38th meeting of the German Data Forum: Health Data, Big Data, and Accreditation Criteria for Research Data Centres

Past RatSWD events and workshops

  • International Workshop ‘Infrastructure for Confidential Research Data in the Health and Social Sciences’ on 11 and 12 October 2016 in Berlin
  • Forum 3 ‘Access to Data in Epidemiological Research’ at the 5th Conference for Social and Economic Data (5|KSWD) in January 2011, headed by Prof. Dr. Karl-Heinz Jöckel, addressed problems of data access to epidemiological research with a focus on the German National Cohort (GNC)

Education data

Dialogue with stakeholders

Press release of the German Data Forum (RatSWD)

  • Press release (May 2016)
    ‘Limited Access to Education Data: Missed Opportunities for Germany’s Young’ recommending to systematically make available informative data as a reaction to the expert report ‘More Transparency in Educational Policy’ published by the academic advisory council of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

RatSWD Working Group 2014-2017

  • The Working Group Education Data analysed the legal and political issues regarding education data. This included addressing the availability and provision of Schülerkerndatensätze, datasets on students on the level of the Länder. Another issue is the provision of state-level identifiers (Bundesland-Kennungen) in large datasets.

Past RatSWD events and workshops

Migration data

Dialogue with stakeholders

Recommendations of the German Data Forum (RatSWD)

  • Press release
    The German Data Forum welcomes the statement by the German academies on the situation of longitudinal studies
  • Press release
    Results of the 40th Meeting: Challenges arising from refugee influx can only be met with good scientific data
  • Press release
    Results of the 39th meeting of the German Data Forum: Strengthening International Cooperation and Facilitating Access to Data on Health and Migration

Past RatSWD events and workshops
Thematic focus ‘Migration’ at the 7th Conference for Social and Economic Data (7|KSWD)
8-9 February 2017, Berlin

  • Keynote addresses of ministerial department head Norbert Seitz (BMI) and Dr. Uta Dauke (BAMF)
  • Forum B on the subject ‘New data for migration and integration research: Data infrastructure and research potential’

Big Data

RatSWD Working Groups

Recommendations of the German Data Forum (RatSWD)

  • RatSWD Output 4 (6)
    Big data in social, behavioural, and economic sciences: Data access and research data management
    Including an expert opinion on “Web scraping in independent academic research”
  • Press release
    Results of the 38th meeting of the German Data Forum: Health Data, Big Data, and Accreditation Criteria for Research Data Centers
  • Press release
    Data Ownership and Data Access? The German Data Forum celebrates 10 year anniversary with an event on big data

Past RatSWD events and workshops

  • International Expert Workshop: ‘Big Data in Social and Economic Research’ on 2-3 November 2016 in Dusseldorf. Workshop report available online.
  • 10-year RatSWD Anniversary Event Big Data – Big Trouble? The Use of Big Data for Research, Policy and Society
    16 April 2015, 4pm, Humboldt Carré, Berlin
  • Keynote Address at the 6th Conference for Social and Economic Data (6|KSWD) in February 2014
    Big Data – a Chance for the Social Sciences
    Prof. Dr. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger (University of Oxford)

Crime statistics and legal data

Recommendations of the German Data Forum (RatSWD)

  • RatSWD Output 7 (6)  [German]
    Further development of crime and criminal justice statistics in Germany
  • Press release, February 28, 2020
    Optimisation of Data on Crime and Law Enforcement
  • 8| KSWD: Session C
    Shaping of justice and home affair policy- increasing the user potential of crime and criminal justice statistics
  • RatSWD Output 2 (6)  [German]
    An English version of RatSWD Output 2 (6), which contains updated recommendations for victimisation surveys, will be published online soon.
  • Press release, October 22, 2018  [German]
    RatSWD positioniert sich für verbesserte Messung von Kriminalität
  • German Data Forum (ed.): ‘Optimization of existing criminal statistics systems’ Recommendations of the Working Group ‘Optimization of existing criminal statistics systems’ chaired by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Heinz, University of Konstanz. Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft (Nomos Publications), Baden-Baden 2009.

RatSWD Working Groups

Technical and organization support for data access

Recommendations of the German Data Forum (RatSWD)

RatSWD Working Groups (2017-2020)