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NFDI entering initiation phase: German Data Forum sees great potential for science and research in Germany

Press release, 11.02.19

The German Data Forum (RatSWD) welcomes the Nationale Forschungsdateninfrastrukur (NFDI) entering its initiation phase. The long term national research data infrastructure project, will contribute to expanding access to high-quality research data in accordance with the FAIR principles and to strengthen sustainable research data management. It will also strengthen interdisciplinary empirical research on pressing social issues. By launching KonsortSWD and building on its recognised expertise, the German Data Forum (RatSWD) and its partners plan on jointly contributing to the NFDI.

The German Data Forum (RatSWD) and its accredited research data centres (RDCs) have been actively shaping the development of research data infrastructures for over 15 years. The RatSWD has developed a model for accessing sensitive research data, the RDCs, which is considered a success story in and beyond the social, behavioural, and economic sciences. Furthermore, the German Data Forum (RatSWD) has developed numerous guidelines (e.g., for research data management), which have also spurred advances in adjacent disciplines. Moreover, the German Data Forum (RatSWD) will continue to make significant contributions to further developing the FAIR principles by launching the GO FAIR Implementation Network EcoSoc-IN.

Accredited by the RatSWD, there are currently 32 RDCs facilitating low-threshold data access for researchers against the backdrop of diverse legal frameworks. The extensive use of their services for research purposes is documented by more than 21,000 active users at a national and international level (Data from 2017). The data enable researchers to explore fundamental social issues such as economic development, social cohesion and other crucial challenges, including digital transformation, globalisation, demographic changes, migration, and climate change – particularly during transition phases.

The launching of the initiation phase of the national research data infrastructure project NFDI on 11 February 2019 paved the way for further advances in long-term data storage and data provision, research data management, and linking research data from different disciplines. The German Data Forum (RatSWD) thus expressly welcomes the recent NFDI tender.

To further improve infrastructures in the social, behavioural, and economic sciences and to help get the interests of research data users be heard, the RatSWD aims at contributing its expertise to the NFDI and further expand its broad cooperation. With the launch of KonsortSWD, the RatSWD has now set up a NFDI consortium for the social, behavioural, and economic sciences.

The partners organised in KonsortSWD have been working closely together for many years. Their common goal is to provide access to high-quality research data for answering pressing scientific and social questions. Moreover, the aim is to further improve available data and access to it, while taking aspects of data protection and research ethics into account. Key areas will include access to data from public as well as private sources and their interoperability.

More information on the initiation phase: https://www.dfg.de/foerderung/info_wissenschaft/info_wissenschaft_19_09/index.html

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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 32 research data centres and fosters their interaction and collaboration.