Evaluation of and Statement on the "Specialised Information Services" Programme

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has been promoting the development of cross-regional, high-performance and usage-based information infrastructures for research with the 'Specialised Information Services" (FID) funding programme since 2014. When the programme was created in July 2012, the Joint Committee proposed evaluating it after five years and reviewing whether the original funding objectives had been achieved. To this end, the AWBI appointed a commission in October 2016 and tasked it with supporting the evaluation process and preparing recommendations on how the programme should be designed going forward. Prognos AG conducted an evaluation study on behalf of the commission and submitted this study in August 2018.

In the multi-perspective study, the perspectives of the FID, the researchers making use of the programme and the scientific libraries were taken into consideration as channels for the dissemination and further development of FID services. Key topics of the study are the development of FID strategies to meet special requirements, build up and maintain convenient archiving and search systems, provide digital media and communicate with other FIDs, as well as to ensure the satisfaction of users, quality of supply and contact with users. The starting point for the study was an online survey of responsible applicants of the 38 specialised information services funded up until the study was published. The perspective of the FID was complemented by libraries without FID, as well as researchers who are actual users and those who are potential users. Quantitative (survey, secondary analysis) and qualitative (interviews, case studies, focus group discussions) data was collected for all groups involved.

In addition to the conclusions drawn from the study, the AWBI commission developed its own recommendations for the further development of the programme on the basis of these results, which form an important foundation for the further development of the "Specialised Information Services" programme.

At its meeting on 27 March 2019, the Executive Committee of the DFG agreed to the publication of the evaluation study and the statement of the commission as well as to the further development of this programme, adding that the DFG will systematically address the fundamental issue of long-term financing options.