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German Data Forum welcomes EOSC declaration

Press Release, 24.11.2017

The German Data Forum welcomes the European Commission’s declaration on the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC). The German Data Forum is committed to the establishment of an open European research data infrastructure and will continue to support the implementation of the EOSC principles with its broad, interdisciplinary expertise. The German Data Forum considers it a necessity that European science organisations in the fields of social, behavioural and economic research actively pursue and support the development of a pan-European research data infrastructure.

[Data culture] We are committed to raising awareness for the significance of data sharing, data provision and curation among researchers and funding organisations.

[Research data repositories] We promote the model of independent and accredited RDCs. RDCs provide science and research with a user-friendly, transparent, trusted and high-quality access to microdata that can be analysed statistically. They play a mediating role between data users and data producers thus improving cooperation between them.

[Accreditation] We developed minimum standards and clear criteria for accrediting RDCs. These standards and criteria foster coordination and cooperation among the RDCs and ensure the quality of the research data infrastructure. As of November 2017, 31 RDCs have been accredited by the German Data Forum. Regular monitoring supports the analysis and communication of improvements of the research data infrastructure.

[Skills] In order to advance the recognition for data sharing and the RDC model, it is essential that RDCs provide trustworthy, reliable, and high-quality services. Therefore, the German Data Forum established a working group that develops guidelines for skill requirements of data managers and data stewards employed at the RDCs.

[Data stewardship] We are committed to ensure the creation and provision of user-friendly data products. This includes high-quality standardised metadata, comprehensive documentation, training materials and support for data analysis.

[Reputation and incentives] We promote the academic recognition of data production, data archiving and data sharing as essential services for the scientific community. By anchoring data producers, archivists and sharers of research data in the academic reputation system, we contribute to their recognition as individual qualification factors in the review process of research projects.

[FAIR principles] The German Data Forum is committed to the implementation of the FAIR principles within its 31 RDCs. Moreover, the German Data Forum promotes the creation of additional RDCs to further improve data access for researchers. Already since 2001, the principles of findability, accessibility and reusability have been guiding principles of the informational infrastructure and the establishment of RDCs. Within our monitoring processes, we support the analysis and communication between the RDCs to constantly improve the research data infrastructure.  However, the German Data Forum identified two opposing priorities among the FAIR-Principles. Limitations emerge regarding accessibility and interoperability. A comprehensive explanation can be found here.

Established in 2004, the German Data Forum (Rat für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsdaten, RatSWD) is an independent council. It advises the German federal government and the federal states (Länder) in matters concerning the research data infrastructure for the empirical social, behavioural, and economic sciences. The German Data Forum (RatSWD) has 16 members. Membership consists of eight elected representatives of the social, behavioural, and economic sciences and eight appointed representatives of Germany’s most important data producers. The German Data Forum (RatSWD) offers a forum for dialogue between researchers and data producers, who jointly issue recommendations and position papers. The council furthers the development of a research infrastructure that provides researchers with flexible and secure access to a broad range of data. The German Data Forum (RatSWD) has accredited 31 research data centres and fosters their interaction and collaboration.