Press Release No. 10 | April 11, 2023

DFG supports plans for legislation on research data

Latest statement underlines necessity from the perspective of science and the humanities / Participation in the federal government consultation process

Latest statement underlines necessity from the perspective of science and the humanities / Participation in the federal government consultation process

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) supports the federal government’s current plans to introduce legislation on research data. In a recently published statement, the largest research funding organisation and central institution for science and research in Germany has systematised all the scientific positions on this and classified them into legal, organisational and infrastructural aspects.

In issuing this statement, the DFG is also participating in the political consultation process on the federal government’s plans. In its Future Research and Innovation Strategy of October 2022, the government announced that it would be drafting a law to improve access to data for the purpose of public and private research.

The DFG has issued its positioning in the light of past practice, which is unbalanced from the perspective of research. The data that is generated through publicly funded research projects is usually made available openly and for reuse both within the research community itself and for other sectors. Yet research itself lacks systematic access to relevant data from other sectors.

In order to remedy this imbalance, according to the statement now published, research data legislation should be consistently conceived as a “data access law for research”. In particular, the DFG believes that urgent improvements are required in terms of enabling access to data held by official bodies and authorities and ensuring the usability of such data for research purposes: the aim here is to maintain the competitiveness of research in Germany as well as enhancing the development of evidence-based findings relating to challenges that are of special relevance to society. Although improving data exchange with the private sector is just as relevant to research as gaining access to data generated by official bodies and authorities, the requirements and framework conditions differ significantly between the two areas, which means that specific regulations, differentiated approaches and different transition periods are required. For this reason, the planned legislation should initially focus on public sector data. The only other area that should be equally covered by such legislation is access to data that is generated collaboratively between research and industry.

In the DFG’s view, the planned statutory regulation through research data legislation must consistently allow for further developments in organisation, process and infrastructure. Here the aim should be to use existing data infrastructures such as the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) as a point of reference and also draw on the principle of data trust models as reliable intermediaries, especially in the case of particularly sensitive data.

Further information

For the text of the statement, see the DFG website:

For further information on handling research data, see the DFG website:

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