The German Data Forum on empirical social, behavioural and economic sciences accredits the research data center QUALISERVICE located at the SOCIUM Research Center of the University of Bremen.

The German Data Forum advises the federal government and is involved in optimizing data infrastructures. Having obtained the accreditation, Qualiservice now aims to strengthen the interests of qualitative research at the level of science policy.

The accreditation by the German Data Forum in June 2019 is a testimony for the hitherto achievements of Qualiservice. For being accredited, research data centers (RDCs) must accord to the criteria of the German Data Forum with regard to data protection and quality as well as continuous dialog with the scientific community. As an accredited RDC, Qualiservice will work with the Standing Committee on Research Data Infrastructure of the German Data Forum. About 30 RDCs, mostly handling quantitative data, are working to establish a new research data infrastructure in specific working groups. Being appointed a member, Qualiservice is given the chance to point out the special requirements that access to sensitive research data entails for secondary use.

Since 2018, the German Research Foundation (GRF) has been funding the perpetuation of Qualiservice as a RDC for sensitive data in qualitative research. As a „living archive“ Qualiservice does not only deposit research data passively, but supports researchers in the documentation process of their research. The aim is to make the research materials generated in the projects available to other scholars for secondary research. The opportunity to reuse and compare data from social research for longitudinals independently of the primary study will be of particular interest in the future.

Qualitative research materials provided by Qualiservice represent for example, interviews or observations. They are available in written form as transcripts or protocols, but also as audio files, photos or video files. These documentations usually refer to personal data, since the interviewees and other research subjects allow the researchers to participate in their lifeworld.
In order to protect research participants’ personal data, Qualiservice has set up secure workflows and a Safe Center. Thereby Qualiservice takes measures to curate sensitive data while complying to data protection regulations. A workplace for visiting scholars enables secondary use directly on site. More anonymised data sets are also provided as scientific use files. Access to the data is contractually regulated and can only be obtained for scientific purposes. The organisation of a quality-oriented RDC requires national and international networking. As a result of the close collaboration with infrastructure facilities and researchers a separate GRF-funded section on ethnographic data was set up. Furthermore, Qualiservice participates in a BMBF-funded project group working on tools to ensure data quality und long term referencing , taking educational data as an example.

Qualiservice is located at the SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy, led by Prof. Dr. Betina Hollstein. In cooperation with PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science and the State and the University Library Bremen (SuUB) Qualiservice is assuring the archiving and dissemination workflows as well as appropriate metadata. Besides, a coordinated archiving and representation of mixed methods studies will be implemented together with GESIS - Leibniz Institut für Sozialwissenschaften. Since 2019 QUALISERVICE works in close cooperation with the DFG-funded Specialised Information Service Social and Cultural Anthropology (FID SKA), located at the University Library of the Humboldt University Berlin.

Prof. Dr. Betina Hollstein
SOCIUM Research Center on Inequality and Social Policy
Mary-Somerville-Straße 9
28359 Bremen
Phone: +49 421 218-58512