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The German Data Forum has created the research data centre as a model solution for flexible and comprehensive access to sensitive data for science and research. Since their inception, the research data centres have played a pivotal role in the social, empirical and economic sciences and strengthened the international competitiveness of the German research landscape.

The decentralised structure of the research data infrastructure is a tried and tested way to satisfy the demands of data producers, data users in science and research and data protection. Anonymisation and pseudonomisation procedures are but two of a wide range of data protection measures, which include Public Use Files (PUF), Scientific Use Files (SUF), on-site access at research data centres, remote data access (which is widely known as remote execution in Germany), and the generation of synthetic data. These various measures are used according to the data’s sensitivity.

The RatSWD has played a major role in supporting the development of these model solutions. They have led to a surge in accessible research data in the past decade.

The German Data Forum (RatSWD) has developed standards and criteria for the accreditation of RDCs. Fully operational RDCs need to meet three mandatory criteria (in addition to further information criteria):

1. Provide at least one data access path

2. Provide sufficient data documentation

3. Ensure the long-term availability of the data