Research data is the name given to data that is generated during a research process or is part of the research results. Handling research data in a sustainable and open way promotes the transparency, reproducibility and reuse of results and plays a role in safeguarding good academic practice. Responsible research data management is therefore beneficial to both researchers and potential subsequent users, making a significant contribution to the acquisition and dissemination of research insights.
What is Research Data?
As a researcher, you use data for your work or produce your own data, from which you derive your research findings. Measurement results, text editions, results from surveys, databases, field notes, software – research data is just as varied as the academic disciplines and methods in which it is generated. You should use secure technology to store your research data in the long term, making sure that you comply with data protection regulations. It is up to you as the expert to decide which of your digital materials and data are suitable for long-term storage – regardless of whether you intend to publish them.
Why Publish Research Data?
- Publishing research data improves your eligibility for funding. Unless there are important reasons against doing so, many external funding bodies now expect their scholars to publish research data.
- You boost your international visibility and reputation. Data publications can play an important part in your individual performance as a researcher. Provided with a permanent identifier such as DOI (digital object identifier), they appear on publication lists and can be cited.
- Some scientific journals accept articles only if you also publish the corresponding data.
- It makes your research transparent and reproducible: it allows other researchers to understand the research process and verify your results. Other researchers can make use of your data. They cite your research results and can arrive at interesting new conclusions.
Why Research Data Management?
Appropriate handling of research data is an important mark of quality in your academic work. The guidelines issued by funding organisations and rules governing good academic practice enforce a systematic and sustainable handling of research data.
The four FAIR Principles can serve as a guideline:
Only by storing research data in a structured way and with metadata can it be retrieved and used by others.
National Research Data Infrastructure
Germany is currently establishing a coordinated nationwide infrastructure for research data. The National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) aims to systematically manage, standardise and secure research data stocks in the long term and make them available for subsequent use. NDFI consortia bring together experts from academia, infrastructure facilities and specialist associations. An NFDI directorate will be responsible for pooling and coordinating the new network of NFDI consortia. The German Research Foundation is creating the NFDI in stages in three rounds of calls for proposals. Driven by the scientific community and users, consortia have already formed for a wide range of disciplines and published letters of intent for proposal submissions. Funding for the first ten consortia is planned from summer 2020. The NFDI consortia should be dynamic and remain open to accept new participants.
Research Data Management Service
We offer you both individual advice and subject-specific information events on the subject of research data – please contact us for more details.
Due to the coronavirus situation, we are currently offering consultations by email, phone and using virtual conferencing tools (DFN, Skype for Business). We have also compiled external pages with information on various aspects of research data management.
- Initial information: what is meant by research data?
- Why should I secure and publish my research data?
- What are the FAIR Principles and why should I adhere to them?
- Guidelines from funding bodies on how to handle research data
- Preparation of data management plans
- Training and information events
- Repositories and identifiers: where can I publish my data so that colleagues can find it and it is always available for citation?
- FAIR Principles: how do I structure data and metadata in such a way that it is findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable?
- Copyright and data protection: which data am I allowed to publish and under which conditions?
- Licences: which rights of use do I want to grant?
- Subsequent use: where do I find research data in my subject and how do I cite it?
External Sources of Information:
- forschungsdaten.info: comprehensive information about research data management, developed from the Baden-Württemberg project bwFDM-Info
- FDM-HU Berlin: structured, detailed information about FDM at the Humboldt University of Berlin
- Research data management e-learning platform: E-learning platform for research data management offered by the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons and the Geneva School of Economics and Management (basic, advanced and didactic modules)
- Lecture2Go Uni Hamburg: video tutorials on all aspects of research data management and open science
- OpenAIRE: training, information material and services on the subject of open science and research data, Europe-wide
- Re3data: registry of global research data repositories, searchable by subject area
- Creative Commons: licences for the legally compliant publication of research data
- GO FAIR: FAIR principles as a guideline for the publication of research data
- Zenodo: Generic repository for publications of all kinds. Zenodo is hosted at CERN, with automatic DOI assignment.
An overview of subject-specific information is available at Open-Access.net. You can find some examples here:
- Educational and social sciences: German Network of Educational Research Data, GESIS Leibniz Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
- Bio- and Environmental Sciences: GFBio German Federation for Biological Data
- Geosciences: Pangaea Data Publisher
- Humanities and cultural studies: DARIAH-DE
- Economic and management science, social sciences, law: RatSWD: German Data Forum
- Psychology: PsychData, DataWiz data documentation assistance system
- Physics, chemistry, materials science: FAIR-DI, NFDI4Chem consortium, NFDI4Cat consortium
- Theology: IxTheo Hub Index Theologicus (database of specialist publications in theology, including research data). There is not yet a dedicated research data repository. You can use repositories for all academic fields that touch on the work of the respective theological discipline.
- Law: Intr2Dok
- Sport science: Guide to research data management in sport science, MOTOR: e-research infrastructure for sport science motor function data, Sport Information Portal SURF
We would be happy to discuss further suggestions and experiences with the topic of research data management in the disciplines of physics, chemistry, theology, computer science, mathematics and philosophy with you.
- German Research Foundation (DFG) Guidelines on the Handling of Research Data
- Horizon 2020 Online Manual Data Management: requirements for applications under Horizon 2020
- Sherpa Juliet: searchable database and single focal point of up-to-date information concerning funders’ policies and their requirements on open access, publication and data archiving.
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has no general specifications on research data management. Please refer to the respective funding guidelines in your application for specific requirements.
- Digital Curation Centre(DCC): information in English about creating data management plans, sample DMPs, checklists, online tool
- DMPonline: highly detailed, practical tool from the Digital Curation Centre for creating data management plans
- Research Data Management Organiser (RDMO): tool for creating data management plans, integrated templates (such as DFG, BMBF, Horizon 2020), versioning, individually adaptable question and answer catalogues, role assignment within the project group
- HU Berlin: information and online tutorial for creating DMPs provided by the Humboldt University of Berlin, sample DMPs, checklists
Events and News
The Stifterverband presents the Open Data Award to provide an incentive for good innovative research data management. Applications are open to researchers of all disciplines, including research groups, who have made their research data available and who have enabled and developed an innovative re-use outside the scientific community. The award is worth a total of 30,000 euros and is divided among three prize winners.
The deadline for applications is 30 June 2020.
“Have my field notes been backed up?” – “What do others need to know about my interviews in order to use the transcripts for their own research?” These and similar questions were asked by students in a seminar at our university’s Department of Anthropology. In the course Transition Towns & Visuelle Ethnographie, led by Christian Löffelsender and Carola Mohn, one session was devoted to the subject of research data.
On 19 September 2019, the Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB) hosted Saxony’s first research data management conference, which was entitled “Research Data in Saxony: Planning – Organisation – Reuse”. In addition to presenting and discussing best practice examples, the event focused on knowledge transfer between Saxon research and cultural institutions.