Sat, Aug 19, 2017

Germany: Data Management Recommendations



May 2017

German Psychological Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie DGPs) has developed recommendations for sustainable data management and data sharing practices in psychological science.

The “open data” movement has gained momentum in psychology. In the wake of recent publications on the replicability of published findings, intensive discussions about false-positive results in the field, and new methodological developments, many psychological scientists now agree that sharing their data with other researchers may not only be helpful to reduce analytical errors and to avoid spurious results, but also to instigate new collaborations and, thus, to make more of one’s data. Scientific organizations have been supporting the idea of data sharing for years, encouraged their members to improve their data management routines, and provided new incentives for data sharing, such as launching new journals that make data sharing mandatory (e.g., the “Archives of Scientific Psychology”).

How does data sharing actually work?

Many colleagues welcome these developments, but there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding the specific benefits and the potential dangers and pitfalls of data sharing. Many wonder how data sharing actually works, how they know whether or not a repository is trustworthy, whether data sharing conflicts with data protection and privacy regulations, and whether they can keep a certain amount of control over who is using their data and whether people are using them in a responsible way.

To address these concerns and to support the idea of data sharing in the German scientific community, the German Psychological Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychologie, DGPs) has developed recommendations for sustainable data management and data sharing practices in psychological science. These recommendations have been developed together with members of our society in a thorough and iterative process over the last year. Our recommendations are compatible with the German Research Foundation’s (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) data sharing guidelines and with open data initiatives pursued by the Alliance of Science Organizations in Germany and by the European Research Council.

More specifically, our recommendations emphasize the importance of sustainable data management practices; they define standards and restrictions regarding both the publication of one’s data and the use of these data by third parties; and they specify rights and duties of researchers who share their data and those who use shared data.

Our experience from developing these recommendations and from discussing them with our members is that such practical questions can be quite complex. But it is our duty to face this complexity, to find practical solutions, to monitor these solutions, and revise them if necessary. All these aims are more likely to be achieved in a collaborative effort, that is, together with our own members, with other science organizations in Germany, with German and European scientific funding agencies, and with other psychological associations and societies all over the world – including yours.

German colleagues invite to discuss the paper

The English version of the recommendations is attached.

The DGPs has established a task force, consisting of

  • Felix Schönbrodt (University of Munich; Center for Open Science - Felix.Schoenbrodt (at)psy.lmu.de ),
  • Andrea Abele-Brehm (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg; former DGPs President: andrea.abele-brehm(at)fau.de ), and
  • Mario Gollwitzer (University of Marburg; DGPs Secretary - mario.gollwitzer(at)uni-marburg.de)