Universität Bonn

Research Data Service Center

Research Data Policy for the University of Bonn

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The Rectorate of the University of Bonn decided on a Research Data Policy for the University of Bonn at its meeting on February 6, 2024.

As a service, the research Data Service Center offers an English translation of the original policy text (see below).

The policy defines a framework for the handling of research data at the university. It thus creates commitment and orientation in order to meet the growing demands on research data management (RDM). The policy is supplemented by the RDM recommendations for action that support the practical implementation of RDM in everyday research.

The research data policy was developed by the Advisory Board for Research Data and the Research Data Service Center. You are welcome to report feedback and comments on the research data policy and the recommendations for action to researchdata@uni-bonn.de

University of Bonn Research Data Policy

The University of Bonn acknowledges the foundational importance of research data—its provision, documentation and storage—so as to ensure high research quality and integrity. Research data have long term benefits for science, as well as the potential for extensive reuse and dissemination in society. Responsible research data management enables traceability and reproducibility of research processes and results, contributing significantly to the general upholding of the good research practice. Research data management is thus a prerequisite for transparent scientific inquiry in terms of “Open Science”, as promoted by the University of Bonn.

This policy regulates the handling of research data at the University of Bonn in accordance with the latest technological standards and the Regulations for Ensuring Good Research Practice  and thus the FAIR principles. According to these principles, research data, that are the basis of research, are kept as Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable as possible. Relevant subject-specific standards and recommendations issued by the respective DFG review boards must furthermore be adhered to. The University of Bonn publishes action recommendations regarding practical implementation to meet the specified requirements. The Research Data Service Center supports researchers at the University, providing research data management advice, training and IT services.

‘Research data’ refers to any data or materials collected, observed, simulated, derived or generated in the course of research. Research data can be processed and analyzed via many different methods, thus in each research discipline, research data occurs in different media types, aggregation levels and formats. The term ‘Research data’ includes also code and software, tools for collecting and processing data, descriptive metadata and data documentation, as these are essential for the traceability and reusability of research data.

Research data management includes the planning, collection, processing, provision, storage and documentation of research data. Research data management practices ensure the accessibility, reusability, reproducibility and quality of all research data that underpin scientific findings.

This Policy is aimed at all research personnel, students and visiting researchers at the University of Bonn. Accordingly, this document refers to any research data generated at the University of Bonn.

Research data management is conducted in accordance with applicable laws and principles of ethical research.

  1. In accordance with the good research practice, research project leaders and independent researchers are obligated to protect research data against loss, to prepare and document it in order to ensure its long-term usability, retain data over the long term and, if necessary, properly destroy it. The above individuals are responsible for research data management within their research projects, as well as the integrity and correctness of the data gathered.
  2. A data management plan is to be drawn up at the start of any project in which research data is to be gathered. The data management plan must be revised and updated on an ongoing basis. Such a plan describes all relevant research data collected or used in the project and a concept for handling them. The data management plan is to be updated as necessary throughout the course of the project. Specific research data policies must be outlined for large collaborative projects and other research projects which require substantial coordination. Adequate personnel must also be available to ensure that research data management in such projects is conducted in a structured, coordinated fashion.
  3. Research projects leaders are to implement rules governing any change of relevant personnel. These rules must regulate storage of the original data at the location of their creation, the proper transfer of primary data, clarify access rights and data copying in case of workplace change, in conformity with applicable law.
  4. Project leaders are responsible for educating doctoral candidates and other students on the proper handling of research data, familiarizing them with relevant subject-specific competencies and standards.
  5. In line with the ‘Open Science’ principles, research data, research software and scientific publications are to be made publicly available except as barred by law or otherwise prohibited in view of ethical considerations or legitimate exploitation interests to the contrary. In accordance with the FAIR principles, research data is to be kept as open as possible and as closed as necessary.
  6. The publication, storage and archiving of research data and their documentation take place over the long term in recognized external or internal data archives, specialized repositories or the University of Bonn data infrastructure. The minimum retention period for research data is ten years after the date of its publication, the date of publication of the relevant scientific work or after the completion of the project. The above provisions may be deviated from as required by law, contractual obligations, specifications of third-party funding providers and/or internal policies or guidelines.
  7. The University provides and maintains a basic research data infrastructure and thereby ensures the proper storage and technical availability of digital research data.
  8. The University of Bonn acknowledges that the implementation of this Policy must take into account the needs of the different disciplines. All members and affiliates of the University of Bonn are required to prepare research data, that were generated or gathered as part of their research activities, in accordance with the regulations and standards established in their respective research field.

This Policy document goes into effect on the day following the date of its publication in the Official Announcements of the University of Bonn.

Prepared on the basis of the University of Bonn Rectorate resolution of February 6, 2024.


RDM recommendations for action

On the internal Confluence pages of the University of Bonn, the Research Data Service Center provides research data management recommendations to meet the requirements of the University of Bonn's research data policy, the good scientific practice, the FAIR principles, and the funding conditions of various third-party funders.

Contact Person

Avatar Bittner

Christian Bittner

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