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Research data infrastructure is a growing success: German Data Forum publishes 2016 Activities Report

Press Release, 16.10.2017

The German Data Forum has published its second comprehensive report on the activities of its accredited research data centres (RDCs): at the end of 2016, RDCs had made a total of 3,214 datasets accessible to science and research. They employed 225.7 people (full-time equivalents) and supported the research of 26,281 data users. With their extensive service portfolios, the RDCs provide essential support services to researchers in the empirical social, behavioural and economic sciences. The report gives an overview of quality assurance measures, RDC services as well as their in-house research activities.

The German Data Forum published its second comprehensive activities report on the research data infrastructure that it coordinates. The activities report is based on an annual reporting system, which the 31 accredited research data centres feed in to. It serves to secure data quality and to identify opportunities for further developing the research data infrastructure.

The range of data provided by the RDCs – which cover the whole range of research fields in the empirical social, behavioural and economic sciences – and the use of those data are developing well. In 2016, then 30 RDCs made a total of 3,214 datasets accessible to science and research. RDCs employed 225.7 people (full-time equivalents) and supported the research of 26,281 data users. They reported 1,833 publications based on their data in 2016.

Making access to data as simple as possible is a prerequisite for their extensive use by researchers. For access to particularly sensitive data, 23 out of 30 RDCs provide secure workstations, which researchers can use for on-site analysis. This gives researchers from the social, behavioural and economic sciences regulated access to certain research data that they could not access otherwise.

The German Data Forum has recently conducted and extensive revision of its quality assurance measures and accreditation criteria. The accreditation as well as monitoring, evaluation and complaint management processes have been outlined in the report “Qualitätssicherung der vom Rat für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsdaten (RatSWD) akkreditierten Forschungsdatenzentren (FDZ)“, which was published in German in June 2017. They are available in English online: https://www.ratswd.de/en/data-infrastructure/quality-assurance

The publication is available in print and online via the German Data Forum’s business office (office@ratswd.de) and website (www.ratswd.de/en/publications), respectively.

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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.