Subprojects | Central Projects

Research Data Management

During its first phase, the CRC not only implemented mechanisms for quality assurance for the methodological approaches used to collect its empirical data, but was also successful in compiling an inventory of the collected research data as well as in coordinating data management plans. In addition, methods, requirements and needs of subprojects with regard to research data management (RDM) within the CRC were collated and systematically evaluated. Despite the challenges posed by multimethod interdisciplinary work and the constraints introduced by the Covid-19 crisis, preliminary work was conducted to develop a metadata schema that can accommodate different data types. In the medium and long term, this metadata schema should enable a thorough indexing of archived research data for systematic reuse within the CRC and serve as an essential RDM basis for the transfer of selected data corpora to specialized research data centers (RDCs).
This infrastructure project aims at a sustainable mode of handling the wide range of digital or digitized research data collected in the various disciplines represented in the CRC with a view to internal and/or external reuse in RDCs in the third funding period. The project was especially designed to enable the CRC to achieve this sustainability goal. In close cooperation with the Methods Lab, it will moreover take on additional functions regarding methodological development and services for the CRC. These applications are needed to link the data corpora collected in the individual subprojects technically, infrastructurally and methodologically in the form of a CRC-wide RDM, so that the data can be reused internally or externally in the medium to long term.

As an element of the research process, RDM is a task that is usually performed within individual projects, following both methodological and discipline-specific guidelines and, especially in the field of qualitative empirical research, often adopting idiosyncratic or project-specific approaches. There are then hardly any common bases guiding the structured archiving and reusability of joint data corpora collected in research networks. Thus, uniform technical and, in particular, methodological standards must first be developed, tested, and applied. Individual projects of primary research can therefore neither be expected to have the resources required for this task nor be able to generate them by themselves. Consequently, the establishment and coordination of a uniform RDM concept at the level of the CRC as well as the development and testing of corresponding structures have to be carried out within the framework of specially tailored technical and methodological work packages.

Based on preliminary work conducted during the CRC’s first phase, the main task of the infrastructure project will be to (1.) (further) develop uniform technical and methodological standards according to the requirements of primary research, to test them and to implement them practically in cooperation with the researchers. These standards should eventually make it possible to systematically represent the different sub-corpora or their metadata in a digitally searchable research data corpus spanning the entire CRC. Against this background, subtasks of the project in particular concern (2.) the technical-infrastructural (server) as well as (3.) the methodological realization of these standards, especially with regard to the usage-oriented development and implementation of a metadata schema able to cover different data types as a basis for the internal and external reusability of the research data (metadata).
In addition to laying the foundations for internal use, the infrastructure project is also intended to create conditions for the external use of research data by the wider scientific community: To this end, it will (4.) coordinate cooperation with suitable RDCs (networking).
The expertise gained in the CRC in dealing with space-related data corpora will be fed back into the development process of ongoing infrastructure initiatives (NFDI/ KonsortSWD). The infrastructure project will thereby participate in the (community-oriented) development of research data infrastructures (RDI) and strategies that extend beyond the CRC (structural development). The collaboration with the CRC’s subprojects will also entail (5.) consultations regarding the implementation of the CRC-wide RDM. In this context, ongoing communication will serve as an empirical basis for further development of the infrastructure project and ensure its approach remains firmly community oriented.
Given these objectives, the infrastructure project will meet its greatest challenge in focusing on the diversity of research practices, which vary greatly in accordance with the qualitative, quantitative or mix-methods research designs of the respective subprojects. In order to meet the markedly heterogeneous demands on RDM within the context of the CRC, the project will therefore explicitly consider not only research designs that work quantitatively or qualitatively, but also specifically those that follow a mix-methods approach. Special attention will moreover be given to the extensive field of data corpora related to space, which, depending on the respective research design, pose very specific challenges for a CRC-wide RDM with regard to data reusability.