More than 21,000 researchers used the data provided by research data centres in 2017
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.
Following the 19th meeting of the RDC Committee on 1-2 October 2018 in Cologne, the German Data Forum (RatSWD) published its third comprehensive activities report  on the research data infrastructure, which the council coordinates. This infrastructure now comprises 31 accredited research data centres (RDCs). The activities report is based on an annual reporting system, which was conceived ‘bottom-up’ by the RDCs. The close ties between the RDCs, the nation-wide distribution of RDCs as well as the high numbers of on-site guest researcher work stations all indicate that the infrastructure is thriving and growing.
The positive development of the research data infrastructure in 2017 can be traced by looking at some key figures: the now 31 RDCs made available 3,571 datasets. Of those, 357 new datasets were added in 2017. They were used by over 21,000 active data users in 2017, which resulted in 69,083 downloads of openly available data.
These are impressive examples of the relevance of the data that the RDCs are providing to social, behavioural and economic researchers in Germany. Moreover, in 2017 alone, at least 2,042 scientific publications were put out on the basis of datasets made available by the RDCs. Their staff significantly contributed to these results. The 264 RDC employees produced a total of 459 publications. This underscores the importance of staff research at RDCs. By combining their own research with infrastructure requirements, RDC staff can offer high-quality services to data users.
Supporting researchers to better use the data is a central service provided by the RDCs. This fact is reflected by the over 100 qualification courses they offered in 2017, which were visited by roughly 1,700 participants. The main focus of these courses is to present individual datasets and their research potential, particularly to the international research community. To this end, many datasets and data documentation are provided in English. These aspects also underscore the goal of strengthening national and international networking of the research data infrastructure.
During its 19th meeting, the FDI Committee not only published its third activities report but also initiated an interdisciplinary dialogue with the life sciences as well as discussing its commitment to the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) and the configuration of the FAIR principles in the social, behavioural and economic sciences.
Our newly updated fact sheet  gives an overview of the RatSWD-accredited research data infrastructure. The activities report is available in print and online via the German Data Forum’s (RatSWD) business office and website , respectively.
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 31 research data centres and fosters their interaction and collaboration. | https://www.ratswd.de/en
https://www.ratswd.de/en/press/29112018 Press release on the homepage of the RatSWD