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Tasks and Structure

The German Data Forum (RatSWD, Rat für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsdaten) is an independent council which consists of representatives of independent scientific research and representatives of major public data producers. It was established by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in 2004 with the goal of sustainably improving Germany's research data infrastructure and increasing its international competitiveness.


The German Data Forum’s overarching goal is to improve access to high-quality data for scientific research, particularly in the social, behavioral and economics sciences. It has established itself as an institutionalised place of exchange between research data producers and users in science and research and as a platform for coordination and cooperation. In the social, behavioural and economic sciences, it plays a key role in initiating and establishing standards for the collection, storage, provision and quality of research data.

The German Data Forum consists of 8 members from the empirical social, behavioral and economic sciences, and 8 members from data production. It invites experts from science, data production and policy to assess the status quo and develop strategic recommendations on improving data access for researchers. Representatives from the federal government and the state governments of the Länder as well as the German Research Foundation have a permanent guest status. The German Data Forum sets up topical working groups to identify action priorities and address current issues.