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Open Research Data

Open Research Data at Helmholtz

The Helmholtz Centres conduct data-intensive research. Research with complex scientific and technical infrastructures, such as particle accelerators, satellites, research ships and aircraft, generates a large volume of research data. On account of its data-intensive research infrastructures, the Helmholtz Association is the obvious location for professional competences in the field of open research data, the access to and re-use of research data. Already in the first Helmholtz concept for the implementation of the goals formulated in the Berlin Declaration, the Association devoted itself to open access to research data.

In the field of open research data, the Helmholtz Open Science Office focuses on supporting the Centers in developing policies and related practices in handling digital research data. The work of the Helmholtz Open Science Office thus complements the developments of platforms in the Helmholtz Incubator Information and Data Science and contributes to the utilization of the FAIR principles at Helmholtz.

The Helmholtz Metadata Collaboration (HMC) provides guidance on metadata and related topics to those working in the Helmholtz ecosystem. To support the implementation of FAIR at Helmholtz, HMC has published an instructional paper.

Guidelines for handling research data

In 2016, the Helmholtz Association adopted a position paper with the title Making information resources more usable on the handling of research data. Guidelines for the handling of research data are being developed at the Centers in order to provide practical steps to implement this directional decision. As a result of the OS Office's work, most Centers have already drawn up guidelines for handling digital research data.

Research Data Infrastructures

An overview of the research data repositories and portals with a participation of Helmholtz is provided by the Helmholtz Open Science Office with the help of re3data - Registry of Research Data Repositories. This directory lists about 100 data infrastructures in the Association that curate unique and valuable digital research data.


The Helmholtz Open Science Office promotes the discussion on the re-use and thus also the reproducibility of research data in the Helmholtz Association and the interdisciplinary exchange in this field.

The National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI) and the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) represent central infrastructures in this context. Numerous NFDI consortia are being implemented with substantial Helmholtz participation, and Helmholtz Centers are also actively involved in the implementation of the EOSC.

The Helmholtz Open Science Office also supports Helmholtz's participation in the international Research Data Alliance (RDA) and in Research Data Alliance Germany (RDA-DE). 

The Helmholtz Open Science Office is also active in third-party funded projects on open research data. One particular focus is on the use of persistent identifiers (PIDs) for the permanent identification of persons, results, resources, and information infrastructures.

In 2016, the Helmholtz Association adopted a position paper on the handling of digital research data.