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Press Release No. 29 | 3. July 2012
"Taking Digital Transformation to the Next Level"

DFG Strategy Paper on Innovative Information Infrastructures for Research

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) supports efforts to enhance the strategic development of information infrastructure in Germany. This is the underlying message in the new strategy paper Taking Digital Transformation to the Next Level: The Contribution of the DFG to an Innovative Information Infrastructure for Research. The paper was adopted by the DFG Senate at its session on 3 July 2012.

Against a backdrop of rapid change in the conditions under which scientific research is carried out in the Digital Age, the paper outlines current challenges of creating innovative information infrastructures for research, explores new developments, and identifies areas to be enhanced with targeted funding initiatives. DFG President Matthias Kleiner: "Excellence in basic research is unthinkable without state-of-the-art information infrastructure. The development and continued expansion of this infrastructure is of great significance as we look to the future. This paper will serve as a strategic and thematic guide on services for information and literature provision as well as for enhancing network-supported collaboration in the coming years."

Prepared by the Committee on Scientific Library Services and Information Systems, the paper aims to improve the performance and sustainability of information infrastructures at universities and research institutions. Combining analyses with recommendations, the paper builds on the DFG's strategy paper "Funding Priorities Through 2015", published in 2006, which led to the establishment of innovative funding lines and activities.

According to the conclusions of both papers, the DFG fulfils a twofold role: With its grant programmes it contributes to developing and testing innovative forms of information gathering and processing, of information exchange and networking. In addition, it advocates the importance of comprehensive and networked information services as an integral part of German and European research policy in the national and international political discourse and consensus-finding processes.

The DFG's contribution to enhancing the information landscape is guided by the organisation's overarching goal of serving the interests of science and meeting the needs of researchers. To this end, the DFG's activities extend beyond the provision of information resources to include support for web-based scientific practice across the full spectrum. This includes retrieval functions, and new forms of network-supported collaboration, as well as innovative electronic publishing models and the reusability of research data. The DFG’s funding mission in the field of information infrastructure is complementary to the basic mission of academic and scientific institutions, libraries and archives. The success of its funding programmes and activities depends crucially on the efforts of universities and research institutes, as well as of the federal and state governments funding them, to ensure the sustainability of the activities and structures initiated by DFG grants.

In addition to these analyses, the paper also identifies specific areas for future funding initiatives. These initiatives cover a broad spectrum, ranging from the continuing development of national licensing models for information services and the extension of digitisation and cataloguing projects to new materials, through to efforts to promote open access activities and to enhance the long-term storage of research data. All of these measures will contribute to the overriding goal of "ensuring that information of scientific relevance, research data and platforms for scientific work and communication are easily accessible" with the aim of "delivering an integrated and sustainable system of information infrastructures".

Further Information

The paper "Taking Digital Transformation to the Next Level – The Contribution of the DFG to an Innovative Information Infrastructure for Research", prepared by the DFG's Committee on Scientific Library Services and Information Systems, is available for download at:

Contact persons at the DFG Head Office:

  • Dr. Anne Lipp,
    Scientific Library Services and Information Systems
    Tel. +49 228 885-2260,
    Anne.Lipp@dfg.de
  • Dr. Rembert Unterstell,
    DFG Press and Public Relations
    Tel. +49 228 885-2275,
    Rembert.Unterstell@dfg.de

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