The German Data Forum (RatSWD) has set up EcoSoc-IN, the first GO FAIR implementation network for the social, behavioural, and economic sciences. It focuses on user-friendly solutions for accessing and linking disclosive data and addresses the specific data protection needs of these disciplines. The network is founded on the long-standing expertise of the German Data Forum (RatSWD) and the accredited research data centres. EcoSoc-IN is open for national and international organisations and individuals, who endorse EcoSoc-IN’s goals and are willing to contribute to the network.
The network of 31 research data centres (RDC) accredited by the German Data Forum (RatSWD) is continuously growing. It has become a key infrastructure: over 21,000 researchers used ca. 3,500 datasets in 2017. Overall, the reuse of research data resulted in over 2,000 scientific publications. The 264 people working at the RDCs (in full-time equivalents) put out over 450 publications. At the FDI Committee’s 19th meeting on 1-2 October 2018, the RDCs discussed aspects of internationalisation, the implementation of the FAIR principles and the interdisciplinary exchange with the life sciences.
Under the heading "RDA For The Social Sciences", Ricarda Braukmann from Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) has published a report aimed at giving an overview of the work done in the over 60 interest groups and 30 working groups of the Research Data Alliance (RDA) that is specifically relevant to social science researchers. The analysis performed should be seen as a starting point for researchers that are new to the diverse activities of RDA. The organisation is an international and interdisciplinary platform committed to research data sharing on an international level. The German Data Forum (RatSWD) has been an organisational member of RDA since February 2015.
During its 49th meeting, the German Data Forum (RatSWD) discussed the effects of the new EU data protection regulation (GDPR) on the access to sensitive data in research data centres (RDCs), saying it yielded positive results. The discussion also looked at the current and future significance of anonymity in the digital age. Impact assessment of research data infrastructures and the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) were also on the agenda. The German Data Forum (RatSWD) welcomes the decision by the Innenministerkonferenz (IMK), the standing conference of interior ministers, to grant long-term funding to a national victimisation study, but also addressed the need to closely involve science and research.
More than 50 researchers got together for an interdisciplinary RatSWD workshop at the University of Bremen on 27th/28th April 2018 to develop solutions for archiving and re-using qualitative research data. The participants evaluated past experiences, discussed fundamental problems of archiving and secondary analysis, and identified requirements for improving the archiving infrastructure for qualitative data.
Anonymisation of personal data and the informed consent by participants of scientific studies were the two main topics of the 18th meeting of the FDI Committee of the German Data Forum (Rat für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsdaten, RatSWD) on 26 April in Berlin. The meeting made concrete the ways in which the EU General Data Protection Regulation affects the day-to-day business of research data centres (RDCs). The FDI Committee plans to accelerate efforts to increase cooperation between the 31 RDCs accredited by RatSWD until 2020, which aim to optimise the data and services RDCs provide to researchers. This includes expanding the RDC network. Two RDCs presented themselves that are currently in the set-up phase: the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) and eLabour.
The dynamic network of 31 research data centres (RDCs) accredited by the German Data Forum (RatSWD) provides science and research with comprehensive access to quality-assured and sensitive data. The annual number of processing requests and publications indicate that the data and services provided by RDCs are in high demand. They also underscore the importance of the research data centres for the social, behavioural and economic sciences. As shown in two new publications by the German Data Forum, the research data infrastructure is highly effective and can serve as a best practice model on a national and international level.
The Promises of Digitisation: Unlocking the Potential of Register Modernisation and Text-Based Research
During its 48th meeting on 1st and 2nd March 2018, the German Data Forum (RatSWD) deepened its exchange on the modernisation of the German register data landscape, in particular the establishment of a nationwide mortality register. The German Data Forum (RatSWD) welcomes the dynamic developments in research based on text corpora and is committed to improving the respective infrastructure to facilitate broad use of text-based research data. It sees further potential in automatic analysis methods as well as in linking such research data with those of established surveys.
During the following three years, the German Data Forum (RatSWD) is committed to further enhancing the scope and quality of the research data infrastructure for the social, behavioural and economic sciences. We will issue recommendations on digital methods of data collection, on archiving and re-using qualitative data, on improving access to data from the private sector as well as tax and wealth data. Moreover, we will continue to support law-making processes and international networking. The Strategic Agenda 2017-2020 was passed during the German Data Forum’s 47th Sitting on 7.12.2017.