KonsortSWD – Consortium for the Social, Behavioural, Educational, and Economic Sciences

DIPF and several cooperation partners are engaged in setting up a national research data infrastructure for the social, behavioural, educational and economic sciences in the NFDI context.

Project Description

Which research data are needed to drive research of societal contexts and phenomena? How can these data be documented and made available, how can they be indexed and networked, to facilitate excellent research? Together with other partners, DIPF engages in setting up KonsortSWD, the national research data infrastructure for social, behavioural, educational and economic sciences.

Within KonsortSWD, DIPF contributes competencies in three areas:

(1) setup of a federated research data infrastructure specifically for qualitative research data (Task Area 2, Data Access),

(2) promotion of research data management of qualitative data (Task Area 3, Data Production) and

(3) development of technical solutions for data exchange (Task Area 5, Technical Solutions).

Setup of a federated infrastructure for qualitative data (VQualidat) (1)

Existing data archiving services and services for data re-usage concerning qualitative research data in the area of social, behavioural, educational and economic sciences are fragmented and incomplete. A number of different research data centres and repositories exist at universities and non-university institutions with their own different priorities and services. KonsortSWD/Task Area 2 aims to bring together the diverse services and expand them in terms of a federated infrastructure (VQualidat). It is thus necessary to harmonize processes and develop standards further. A joint umbrella portal will offer prospective users a unique central access point. Individual research data centres and repositories will contribute their expertise for different data types and areas of research, to serve qualitative research in its entire breadth and diversity.

Promotion of research data management for qualitative data (2)

Archiving and re-usage of qualitative, little standardized research data requires many conditions. Data types, media and designs of qualitative research are highly diverse and incomparable, for example considering ethnographic research, objective hermeneutics or video-based instructional research. Data protection and ethical demands also exist concerning a handling of such sensitive data. Task Area 3 deals with these challenges, to develop specific solutions for the approaches and data types, subject to a close collaboration with researchers. Aspects of data quality and legal conditions are focused. Researchers and their perspectives are invited to workshops to assess their requirements and develop use cases. Findings will then be distributed via training opportunities and good-practice examples.

Software development (3)

The stand-alone technical solutions research data centres and repositories have so far allow for a fulfilment of particular demands, for example regarding institutional interfaces. However, they are linked to the disadvantage of lacking interoperability. Hence, this work package targets a development and provision of interfaces that enable and regulate an exchange of data and metadata between research data centres and users. These interfaces are oriented towards the Open API Initiative (OAI) specification. Owing to the use of this specification, each member of ConsortSWD can exchange data in a standardized manner (interoperability) while also expanding the (individual) data and their life cycle. In setting up these interfaces, developments of the international FAIR initiative are considered, e.g. GO-Inter, FAIRsFAIR or FAIRsharing – as are DDI Alliance metadata standards.

Project Objectives

KonsortSWD targets a further development of the existing research data infrastructure as a joint venture, stopping existing gaps and extending the infrastructure in a sustainable way.


As one of many subject-specific consortia, KonsortSWD is part of the national research data infrastructure (NFDI), funded since 2020 by the federal and state governments with ca. 70 million euros per annum.


Project Management

Project Team

Project Details

Current project
Area of Focus Open Science
Department: Information Centre for Education
10/2020 – 09/2025
External funding
Contact: Dr. Sonja Bayer, Head of Unit