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Consortium proposal for the Social, Behavioural, Educational, and Economic Sciences (KonsortSWD)

The social, behavioural, educational, and economic sciences offer indispensable perspectives and responses to the grand societal challenges the world is facing today. In addressing these challenges, the disciplines represented in KonsortSWD work with a range of different data types. These data are typically sensitive due to legal or ethical constraints and they are frequently generated for non-scientific purposes.

KonsortSWD builds on established and means-tested mechanisms for user involvement in order to support the research data management (RDM) needs of its communities, which increasingly collaborate in multi- and interdisciplinary research projects. The (co-)applicant institutions bring their long-standing experience in operating community-driven research data infrastructures to the NFDI.

The proposal for KonsortSWD is currently being reviewed.

Fig. 1: Description of data types

Our mission is to develop ‒ strengthen, widen, deepen ‒ an existing research data infrastructure for the study of human society. This effort is to be user-driven. The core of KonsortSWD’s RDM strategy is to provide researchers and research data centres (RDCs) with the tools and services they need for managing and sharing (new) sensitive and non-sensitive data in compliance with the FAIR principles. This includes supporting sustainable RDM in all phases of the research data lifecycle and securing data accessibility with an awareness of ethical and legal aspects.

KonsortSWD will increase efficiency in RDM processes by including

  • growing infrastructure of currently 34 accredited RDCs with 3,940 datasets, 46,000 data users, and a staff of 285 full time-equivalents (in 2018),
  • the German Data Forum (RatSWD), where data users and producers jointly facilitate access to research data,
  • data producers with technical expertise to simplify sustainable RDM throughout the data lifecycle,
  • a forum for ethical reflection to support researchers and their institutions and to discuss and disseminate standards f or data-driven, high quality research on human subjects up to entire societies.

KonsortSWD combines a multi-stakeholder approach with transparent governance: a Steering Committee is in charge of operations, an Advisory Board with elected community representatives provides strategic feedback, and a Consortial Conference helps to disseminate KonsortSWD’s services and to collect feedback. The Task Areas focus on: (1) Community Participation, (2) Data Access, (3) Data Production, (4) Research (Data) Ethics, and (5) Technical Solutions.


Fig 2: Anonymisation and the analytical potential of data