Research Data Management
Principles for handling research data at the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors TU Dortmund (IfADo)
Research data are both products of scientific work and the basis of scientific knowledge. Modern research methods make it possible to obtain research data on complex contexts that allow in-depth findings for science and society. At the same time, the volume and complexity of the research data obtained is constantly increasing. Quality-assured research data management, which is ensured at IfADo by the Research Data Management organisational unit, is therefore of major importance. Data management is carried out in accordance with the principles for handling research data at IfADo.
In its handling of research data, IfADo is committed to the principles for the sustainable use of data from publicly funded research work adopted by the Alliance of German Science Organisations in 2010. In the spirit of responsible handling of research data, to ensure good scientific practice and to promote scientific knowledge, the following principles are laid down:
The securing and management of research data at IfADo is carried out in accordance with the legal requirements and rules of good science and takes into account the FAIR principles, according to which research data must be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. All researchers working at IfADo are obliged to store the primary data of their research securely, to process it in accordance with the regulations and standards established in the respective subject area, to document the tools and procedures used and to store it together with the research data in the long term. The responsibility for this lies with the researcher leading the research project. Other researchers from the institute who are not directly involved in the project and guest researchers are given access to the IfADo research data for the purpose of secondary analytical use. It is the responsibility of the IfADo member in charge of the project to decide when and under what conditions research data are made accessible.
IfADo also strives for accessibility of research data and scientific publications in the sense of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities. The implementation of future open source approaches takes place in close cooperation and coordination with the "Leibniz Data Zentralstelle" and includes the use of internal and external research data repositories. The scientific and legal interests of researchers, the protection of personal data, copyright and the legitimate interests of third parties are guaranteed.
The access and exchange of research data between the disciplines takes into account the multidisciplinarity of IfADo and the associated heterogeneity of the data generated at IfADo. This concerns both the storage of research data at different aggregation levels (such as primary data and derived data) as well as detailed and easily comprehensible documentation using metadata and a high degree of flexibility in data storage and access.
IfADo recognises the value to science as a whole of the sustainable use of research data through the provision and sharing of data between disciplines. IfADo encourages its researchers to publish research data and takes these activities into account when assessing performance.
Researchers at IfAdo are provided with appropriate training and advice on data management. On the one hand, this concerns support in accessing research data on the input and output side. For this purpose, special attention is paid to simplicity, flexibility, usability, standardisation and operability in data storage. Secondly, support is provided to researchers at all levels of data management, especially in the creation of data management plans at the beginning of individual projects.
For the appropriate use of research data, researchers undertake to make it available in a standardised form, to document it and to store it with metadata. This applies in particular to the interdisciplinary use of data. To this end, standards, metadata catalogues and registries are developed and implemented according to the formats customary in the discipline and taking into account subject-specific requirements. The rules for the use of research data at IfADo and for the participation and cooperation of data-generating and data-using researchers at IfADo are laid down by the Directorate in a guideline and a supplementary recommendation for action as a supplement to the principles described here for handling research data and implemented in procedures for accessing research data.
IfADo's research data is archived for the long term in suitable trustworthy internal and/or external data registries. Sustainable research data management is ensured at IfADo by a cross-institutional Research Data Management organisational unit. Research data management takes on technical, organisational-administrative and advisory-supporting tasks in connection with the development and maintenance of infrastructures and procedures for the management of research data at IfADo. It ensures data collection and storage and regulates access to and use of the data. The work of the research data management is subject to the guidelines and supplementary recommendations for action adopted by the Directorate, which regulate the implementation and safeguarding of data management. The research data management team includes one representative from each of the four departments, the data protection officer and one representative from the IT department and the library.
A meaningful research data management serves as best possible use and assurance of the quality of the data of a research project. Together with measures for maintaining and curation (data preservation), research data management forms the basis for long-term usability of the data and making the data set accessible to the public and the scientific research community (data sharing) and thus represents an important value-added process. Research data management and data sharing improve the acquisition of scientific knowledge, promote a structured approach to complex research projects and serve the observance of good scientific practice and the guidelines of funding organisations. IfADo supports the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Scientific Knowledge in accordance with the Leibniz Open Science Policy and the DFG Rules on Ensuring Good Scientific Practice.
Based on the statement that IfADo has decision-making sovereignty over all data collected at the institute, this guideline for IfADo specifies the principles for dealing with research data in accordance with the recommendations of the DFG and the Leibniz Association and is intended to convey the most important aspects of research data management to IfADo researchers. The accompanying recommendations on research data management are intended to support researchers in drawing up a data management plan for their respective research projects and in the individual stages of the life cycle of research data.
Research data are all (mainly digital) data that are generated before and during a research project. They can be available in a variety of forms and formats.
Research data management includes the planning of data collection, processing, documentation and its (long-term sustainable) storage, including the regulation and guarantee of access for subsequent use or deletion.
This guideline for the management of research data is addressed to all IfADo researchers. Responsibility for this lies within the heads of the departments, central units, scientific working groups, junior research groups and research projects. In the case of third-party funded projects, this guideline should be taken into account as far as possible. Specific agreements with third-party funders with regard to research data management take precedence over this guideline.
Data management plan
The basis for successful data management is the data management plan. This is to be established at the beginning of a research project and comprises measures to be carried out during the various phases of a research project.
The collection of data, their evaluation and description are carried out in accordance with relevant technical standards and are documented accordingly in the data management plan. In order to refer to the data and their components, 'persistent identifiers' (e.g., DOI) should be used as far as possible.
Support offers at IfADo
The sustainable management of research data requires organisational and technical coordination with various actors in the institute. The library is the contact for general and organisational questions as well as the publication of research data. It offers advice on the use of suitable repositories, metadata and ontologies, as well as on persistent identifiers (e.g., DOI) and licensing issues ('as open as possible, as closed as necessary'). In addition, it forwards those responsible for data maintenance to contacts in the departments of Psychology & Neuroscience, Ergonomics, Toxicology and Immunology or other contact persons for specific questions. These are currently, structured by topic:
- Data storage and archiving, as well as local IT / server structure (EDP)
- Data management plan (PIs of Dortmund Vital Study / Data Protection Officer)
- Data Protection (Data Protection Officer)
- Questions on ethics and 'good scientific practice' (Ombudspersons)
Detailed information is available in the recommendations on research data management. Further details with templates and examples as well as information on basic and further training options on the subject of research data management are provided in the form of a wiki on the IfADo Intranet.
This guideline entered into force on 01.07.2019 by resolution of the Executive Board and will be reviewed and updated every 4 years by the Organisational Unit Research Data Management in agreement with the Executive Board of IfADo, who adopted the current version on 12.06.2023.