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The German Data Forum welcomes the statement by the German academies on the situation of longitudinal studies

Press release, 09.06.2016

A group of German academies have published a statement on the current situation of longitudinal studies in Germany on 9 June 2016. The German Data Forum (RatSWD) welcomes the statement as an important contribution to the sustainable development of the survey landscape, according to RatSWD chair Prof. Riphahn, Ph.D.
The German Data Forum will publish its own statement on the framework, criteria, and standards of the German survey landscape in autumn 2016. The recommendations on how to improve coordination between surveys are targeted at science policy, research funders as well as researchers and will be broader in scope than the statement of the academies.

Panel surveys bear great potential for scientific analysis sciences and are the foundation for evidence-based policy advising. However, the German research data infrastructure still has much potential which is not yet being fully utilised.
Consequently, one important task of the German Data Forum’s 5th appointment period (2014-2017) was to issue recommendations on the development and challenges of longitudinal surveys. It will do this in an extensive examination of the general conditions of data collection, data protection, and survey methodology in Germany.
The RatSWD agrees with the recommendations laid out in the joint report of the National Academy of the Sciences Leopoldina, the acatech – National Academy of Science and Engineering, and the Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities: stable funding conditions are needed to create a long-term perspective for longitudinal studies. Executive staff should be provided with clear career paths, e.g. by way of academic tenure, and the means for continuous skill development. Lastly, targeted training of skills in methods, training programmes for transdisciplinary research, and the promotion of survey management training for the next generation of researchers should be encouraged to make sure Germany’s socio-economic and biomedical research can keep up with internationally excellent research.
The RatSWD wishes to thank the academies their close collaboration which resulted in a working group and an expert report.

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The German Data Forum is an independent body of empirical researchers from universities, university-level institutions, and institutions of independent scientific research as well as representatives of important data producers. It was established by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in 2004 with the goal of sustainably improving the research data infrastructure and its international competitiveness.