Research Data Policy
The Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS) conducts foundational and socially relevant academic research on Eastern Europe. As an independent, international, publicly funded research institute, it promotes free access to research data as the basis for scholarly inquiry.
Research at ZOiS is multi- and interdisciplinary, as analysis of the complex developments taking place in Eastern Europe is only possible with a multi-perspective approach. ZOiS researchers therefore come from a range of disciplines, including political science, sociology, social anthropology, economic and social geography, political economy, theology, and legal and cultural studies. Against this backdrop, ZOiS acknowledges the diversity of qualitative and quantitative research data and recognises that the processing of such data must be discipline-specific.
In accordance with the Code of Conduct Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Research Practice, adopted by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – DFG), ZOiS views responsible, transparent and science-led management of research data as an essential contribution to the generation and dissemination of academic knowledge.
The digital revolution makes increasing demands of ZOiS’s researchers and research support departments in their management of research data. This Research Data Policy provides ZOiS staff members with guidance on the sustainable and quality-assured generation, processing, analysis, archiving, publication and reuse of research data.
Researcher means any person engaged in research at ZOiS. This includes guest researchers or partners who are associated with ZOiS and use its infrastructure for research purposes.
Research data means all data in digital form produced during or resulting from a research process. The research process comprises the entire lifecycle from generation, processing and analysis to publication and archiving of research data. Digital research data are produced in all academic disciplines using a variety of methods, depending on the research question. They thus exist in various types of media, aggregation levels and data formats.
Research data management means all measures that guarantee good research practice throughout the data lifecycle, including planning, collection, processing and archiving. Research data management safeguards the accessibility, reuse, replicability and quality of all research data that form the basis for the production of research results.
Scope of application
This Research Data Policy applies to the management of research data generated through work undertaken at ZOiS. Compliance with this Policy is mandatory for all ZOiS researchers and research support departments.
The Research Data Policy is aligned with the Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Research Practice at the Centre for East European and International Studies.
Statutory provisions on research data management are unaffected and take precedence over this Policy. Examples of statutory provisions which give rise to rights and responsibilities relating to research data are those pertaining to fundamental rights, particularly the right to privacy, including data protection, and copyright and related protections.
Obligations may also arise from agreements such as funding, cooperation and licensing contracts. In particular, funding providers’ requirements relating to the management, publication and archiving of research data must be observed.
The openness and reusability of research data may not be restricted by the provisions of contracts or other agreements in contravention of the principles set forth in this Research Data Policy.
Ownership of the data produced within the framework of research conducted at ZOiS lies with Institute itself. ZOiS recognises, however, that researchers have an interest in making first use of the research data processed by them.
Research data management
In accordance with the FAIR Principles, research data should be stored in a manner which ensures that they are identifiable, findable, accessible, reusable and interoperable and should be published, wherever possible, under CC0 or CC-BY licences.
ZOiS complies with the recommendations on the principles of research ethics issued by the German Data Forum (RatSWD). Research data must take gender and diversity aspects into account. Personal data may only be collected with the subject’s prior consent and must be anonymised or, alternatively, pseudonymised in line with current research standards.
The integrity of research data must be safeguarded at each stage of the work process. Quality-assured documentation and appropriate processing methods which comply with current discipline-specific standards are essential for this purpose. Before the start of a research project, a data management plan must be drawn up. Free standard formats should preferably be chosen for the data format in order to facilitate interoperability and ensure long-term readability. The data must be stored securely on a device designated for this purpose; processing must comply with generally accepted rules and standards, and the entire research cycle, including the tools and procedures used, must be documented.
ZOiS recognises research data processing as a scholarly achievement and, in the assessment of academic performance, treats citable and accessible research data as equivalent to an academic publication. Research data produced by third parties must be appropriately referenced.
Research data which contribute significantly to published results or offer high potential for reuse should be made freely and publicly available in a timely manner and linked appropriately to the relevant publication.
The data must be archived in recognised national or international repositories in compliance with subject-specific standards and using persistent identifiers.
Research data and explanatory notes must be stored for a minimum period of ten years from the date on which the research data or results were published or the research was completed. Exemptions may be made on the basis of legal or contractual provisions, such as funding providers’ requirements.
Deletion of research data is the exception. Any deletion of research data that may be necessary may be performed only after the expiry of the required period of archiving and with due consideration of all the legal and ethical aspects. The researchers are responsible for selecting and deleting data held in a repository. Deletion processes must be documented by the researchers; the documentation must be retained on the designated research data storage device.
Responsibility for the management of research data lies with the researchers in compliance with this Research Data Policy, the rules governing good research practice and the disciplinary guidelines issued by the DFG review boards and the professional associations.
The Heads of the Research Clusters and project leaders are jointly responsible for documentation relating to research data generated in their research cluster or project. The twice-yearly meetings of the Heads of the Research Clusters and researchers facilitate a regular dialogue on research data management.
ZOiS is committed to establishing the institutional and technical frameworks required for implementation of the Research Data Policy.
ZOiS undertakes to sensitise its employees to this topic and to provide them with training and support. A training and advice programme will be established for this purpose. Recommendations on the management of research data will also be produced.
This Research Data Policy and the Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Research Practice at ZOiS will be submitted to the DFG for review and will be evaluated by ZOiS not later than 2026.
Berlin, 31 March 2022
 Maxi Kindling, Peter Schirmbacher, Die digitale Forschungswelt“ als Gegenstand der Forschung, in: Information. Wissenschaft & Praxis 2013, Bd. 64 (2-3), S. 137-148, hier S. 130.
 Wilkinson, Mark D. et al., The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship, Scientific Data 3, 2016. doi:10.1038/sdata.2016.18
 RatSWD (Hrsg.), Forschungsethische Grundsätze und Prüfverfahren in den Sozial- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften, RatSWD Output Paper 9 (5), 2017.