Research Data Management

Principles for Handling Scientific Research Data at the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environments and Human Factors at the TU Dortmund – IfADo

Scientific research data are both products of our scientific work as well as essential fundamentals of the scientific knowledge gain. Modern research methods provide data on complex research questions that allow in-depth knowledge for science and society. At the same time, the volume and complexity of the gained research data are steadily increasing. The quality-assured research data management, ensured at the IfADo by the organisational unit (OU) ‘Research Data Management’, is therefore of major importance. The data management is carried out in accordance to the principles for the handling of scientific research data at the IfADo.


IfADo is committed to the “Principles for the Handling of Research Data”, adopted in 2010 by the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany for the sustainable use of data from publicly funded research work. For the purpose of a responsible use of research data, to ensure a good scientific practice and to promote the gain of scientific knowledge, the following principles are defined:

1. Preservation and Accessibility

The protection and administration of the research data at the IfADo are carried out in accordance with the legal requirements and principles of good scientific practice. They take into account the FAIR principles according to which research data must be findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable. All researchers working at IfADo are required to securely store the primary data of their research, to treat it according to the regulations and standards established in the respective research discipline, document the tools and procedures used, and store these together with the primary research data. The leader of the research project carries the responsibility. Other scientists of the institute and visiting scientists not directly involved in the project have access to the research data of IfADo for the purpose of subsequent use. Time and conditions under which research data is made accessible lie in the responsibility of the project managing IfADo member.

IfADo aims for accessibility of research data and scientific publications as laid down in the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (‘Berliner Erklärung’). The implementation of future ‘open source’ approaches will take place in close cooperation with, and under coordination of the Leibniz Network for Open Research Data (‘Leibniz Data’) and includes the use of internal and external research data repositories. The scientific and legal interests of the researchers, protection of personal data, copyright and the legitimate interests of third parties are guaranteed.

2. Differences between the scientific disciplines

Access to and exchange of research data between the individual scientific disciplines take into account the multidisciplinarity of IfADo and the heterogeneity of the generated data at IfADo. This applies both to the storage of research data at different aggregation levels (such as primary data and derived data), the detailed and easily traceable documentation based on metadata, and the high flexibility of data storage and data access.

3. Scientific recognition

IfADo recognizes the value of the sustainable use of research data through the provision and exchange of data between disciplines for science as a whole. IfADo encourages its researchers to publish research data and considers these activities in performance evaluation.

4. Teaching and qualification

IfADo provides its researchers with an adequate data management training and consulting service. This includes support in data preparation, ingest, storage and retrieval. For data storage, special attention is paid to simplicity, flexibility, usability, standardisation, and operability. Furthermore, researchers are granted support at all levels of professional data management, in particular in the creation of data management plans at the beginning of individual projects.

5. Use of standards

For the proper utilisation of scientific research data, the scientists at IfADo are required to provide data in a standardised manner and in association with appropriate metadata. This applies in particular to the interdisciplinary use of data. For this purpose, standards, metadata catalogs, and registries are developed and implemented in accordance with the common formats in the discipline, taking into account subject-specific requirements. Guidelines for the use of research data and for the participation and cooperation of researchers at IfADo are codified by the IfADo Board of Directors as a supplement to the principles of data management laid down here. The guidelines include the dealing with research data and the procedures to access research data.

6. Development of infrastructures

The research data of IfADo will be archived for a long term period in appropriate trusted internal and / or external data registries. Sustainable data management is ensured by the IfADo institute-wide OU ‘Research Data Management’. This unit performs technical, organisational-administrative and advisory-related tasks associated with the development and maintenance of infrastructures and procedures for the administration of research data. It ensures data input and storage, and controls the access and use of data. The work of OU ‘Research Data Management’ is subject to the guidelines for the handling of research data adopted by the IfADo Board of Directors, which regulates the implementation, security and protection of data. The OU ‘Research Data Management’ comprises one representative from the four departments, the data protection officer, as well as representatives from the EDP (IT) area and the library.