Open Research Data

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 in Helmholtz.

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, twelve centers have already drawn up guidelines for handling digital research data.

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.

Participation of the Helmholtz Centers in the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI)

Helmholtz Centres are involved in the following NFDI consortia as applicant or participating institutions:

In addition, the following centers are actively involved in the NFDI Association as members:

  • Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI)
  • CISPA – Helmholtz Center for Information Security
  • Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY
  • German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ)
  • German Aerospace Center (DLR)
  • German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE)
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich
  • GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
  • Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI)
  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ
  • Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie
  • Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon
  • Helmholtz Zentrum München – German Research Center for Environmental Health (HMGU)
  • Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
  • Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC)

Participation of the Helmholtz Centers in the NFDI, overview (as of December 2021)



Mitgliederversammlung der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft (Ed.) (2016): Making information resources more usable: A position paper on the management of research data in the Helmholtz Association, Potsdam : Helmholtz Open Science Office, 3 p.