First DDP Evaluation Workshop

Planning for the second feedback phase on the first drafts of the DDPs began in late summer 2020 with the participation of project staff from DIE, GESIS, and DIPF. For this purpose, a joint concept was developed, which was used for the first time from December 8 – 9, 2020, within the framework of a virtual evaluation workshop with research data management (RDM) officers.

This workshop was not so much a discussion of generally applicable requirements for DDPs, but rather a presentation of various draft projects to the RDM officers. Starting with a table on general project information and followed by several topic-specific modules, the workshop participants gained first insights into the DDP modules and their structure.

The content and, at the same time, the goal of the workshop was to determine the RDM officers’ assessments of the applicability of these modules in research practice.  The DDP team received valuable tips for the further development of the protocols and generally very positive feedback.

DDP-Bildung at the CODATA 2020

On December 1, 2020, Anna Schwickerath and Sebastian Netscher presented a poster on the International FAIR Convergence Symposium 2020, titled Domain Data Protocols for Educational Research in Germany

The poster examines the increasing relevance to make research processes as transparent as possible, to enable reproducible research results, and to share (research) data FAIRly and openly with others. Such requirements can be challenging for researchers, as not all of them are familiar with the concepts of FAIR and open data. At the same time, existing tools (and guidance) to foster the creation of FAIR data – such as templates for data management plans – vary to a great extent, rarely indicating what the best practice solution is. The project Domain Data Protocols for Educational Research in Germany aims to address this issue by developing a standardized tool to create data management plans. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, it brings together twelve German research institutions with diverse areas of expertise on educational research to develop so-called Domain Data Protocols (in short DDPs). 

However, developing DDPs is not without challenges, as their structure needs to be flexible enough to cover different types of data and methods and to enable researchers to reflect their project-specific requirements. DDPs, therefore, consists of different modules, e.g. in the context of data collection, documentation, legal issues, and data sharing. Each of these modules contains different elements defining a minimum set of requirements on what FAIR data look like and includes use cases, standards, relevant regulations as well as further resources on related data management practices. 

2nd Consortium Meeting (2020)

The first project meeting with all applicants could not take place in Cologne due to the Corona pandemic. Therefore, it was held virtually on November 23, 2020.

The project participants first recapitulated the work carried out so far, starting with organizational aspects and workflows as well as activities in the area of external presentation of the project. Subsequently, the stat of the development of Domain Data Protocols (DDPs) and the corresponding requirements of different stakeholders was summarized. The special focus was on the presentation of the agreed basic concept and the composition of modules of the DDPs.    

The second part of the event was devoted to the coordination of upcoming work in the project. Again, organizational aspects, such as the current creation of the DDP project website, were addressed first. Furthermore the development of the DDPs was discussed, supplemented by previous considerations and future work in the area of their technical implementation. The current status and future work on the costs of research data management were also presented.  

Finally, the project partners discussed possible adjustments to the plans for 2021 as well as a corresponding use of funds, which will become necessary due to the Corona pandemic. In this context, it was decided to first discuss the topic within the participating institutes to jointly coordinate these aspects during the monthly project meeting.

The project partners jointly determined that all milestones to date had been achieved. Corrections to the orientation of further project activities are only necessary at the level of detail to do justice to the decisions made about content and the changed conditions caused by the Corona pandemic in terms of organization.


On November 10th, 2020 the GESIS DDP team gave an introduction to the project as part of an Birds of a Feather session of the Research Data Alliance.

The session furthermore included presentations from two more projects on discipline specific Data Management Plans (DMPs). With the goal of assessing the need for guidance in this sector, the session introduced the proposed RDA working group „Discipline-specific Guidance for DMPs“.

After the initial presentations, participants discussed the matter in different breakout groups. At first, relevant disciplines to be included in the process were discussed, followed by aspects, i.e. elements of DMPs, most relevant for guidance in this field. Finally, participants talked about discipline-specific advice that is usually missing from generic DMPs and existing guidance that might be helpful in the process. For more information on the working group please visit the RDA’s website.

Expert interviews with funding institutions

During the first DDP workshop with external experts in January 2020, members of the DDP project team had interviewed researchers and research data management officers about their requirements for the development of domain data protocols for empirical educational research. As continuation of this assessment, the project team conducted interviews with staff from German funding institutions in October and November of this year.

The interviews began with an introduction of the DDP concept. Subsequently, research data management in general was addressed, as well as requirements of the funding institutions in particular. In the following discussion on the DDPs, the interviewees pointed out possible elements that, in their experience, could be helpful for researchers, e.g. templates for consent forms. During the interviews, the DDP team received a number of helpful comments for the further development of the DDPs.

The DDP project at the Open Access Days 2020

From September 15-17, 2020, the conference “Open Access 2020 – Paths, Actors, Effects” took place virtually, organized by the Bielefeld University Library and the Library of the University of Applied Sciences in Bielefeld.

The DDP project participated in the conference with a poster and a screen cast entitled “Domain Data Protocols for Empirical Educational Research: Supporting the Creation of FAIR Data”, introducing early considerations of the project. Contributions to the poster session from other projects and institutions are also available.

In the poster session, OA Days 2020 participants discussed various aspects of Domain Data Protocols (DDPs), focusing mainly on the concrete implementation of FAIR principles in the DDPs, the current state of development of the standards, and the general structure of the protocols.

Workshop with international experts in work package 5

On August 17, 2020, the DDP project hosted a virtual workshop in which Anja Perry and Anna Schwickerath discussed issues related to costing and determining costs of research data management activities with international experts.

First, the DDP project and early considerations regarding costs of research data management were presented. Following this introduction, participants presented their projects. The costing tool of Utrecht University in the Netherlands was explained by Felix Weijdema, who also presented corresponding services offered by the institution. At Utrecht University, researchers have the opportunity to make use of their colleagues’ expertise on a project-by-project basis. Annalisa Montesanti presented the Irish Health Research Board’s user guide on eligible costs in grant applications for FAIR data collection. Sarah Jones (GÉANT) also focused on the costs researchers can include in grant applications for research data management, introducing exemplary guidance from universities in the UK. Veerle van den Eynden (KU Leuven) and Libby Bishop (GESIS) presented the UKDA Data Management Costing Tool. They considered research data management an integral part of the research process; its costs should therefore be aligned with the activities undertaken to produce FAIR data.

In the concluding discussion, experts pointed out aspects that, in their view, are most significant for the determination of cost-relevant factors in the context of the DDP project. They furthermore suggested a high level of specificity of guidelines to be developed, which should enable researchers to apply them to their projects. Overall, work package 5 of the DDP project should therefore focus on practical examples that can be used to illustrate the provision of costs for research data management activities.

Start of work package 5

In mid-2020, work package 5 on the costs of research data management began, and on August 12, 2020, the GESIS team of the DDP project held an expert discussion with colleagues from within the institute.

Participants included staff from data curation as well as those who have regular contact with data providers. The goal of the discussion was to identify cost-relevant factors in research data management. Some of the GESIS experts had previously been involved in an internal project on costs of preparing and documenting studies.

In the expert’s view, researchers often do not include enough time and resources for data management in their planning. They identified so-called cost drivers which include mixed-methods procedures, weights, a high number of variables, filter questions, and insufficiently labeled data.

With regard to the activities of the DDP project, the experts recommended focusing on the re-usability of research data in order to emphasize the importance of this field more strongly and thus create awareness for the topic among researchers.

DDP at Open Science Conference 2020

The 7th International Open Science Conference of the Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science took place in Berlin on March 11-12, 2020. The annual conference is dedicated to developments in the field of Open Science and 2020 focused on topics such as innovations to support open science practices, their application, and acceptance in the scientific community, as well as the scientific benefits of Open Science and its impact on society. 

During the poster presentation on the first day of the conference, the collaborative project Domain Data Protocols for Empirical Educational Research in Germany was presented. Entitled “Supporting Researchers in Creating Data Management Plans”, the poster provided information about the project participants, the project plan, it’s funding, and duration, as well as the (planned) development of the Domain Data Protocols, their structure, and their use by different actors in the science system. The poster, provided with a CC-by 4.0 license, was published via the conference website after the event.

Overall, the poster was received with great interest by the participants. Comments were primarily related to the need to develop domain data protocols to facilitate research data management and to support researchers in generating open data in line with the FAIR-Data-Principles. Open questions were primarily related to the choice of discipline (educational research) and geographic coverage (Germany). In addition, the connectivity of the sample protocols to be developed for other data types and collection methods was addressed and the current project was discussed as a blueprint for implementing domain data protocols in other research disciplines. A key suggestion from participants related to the creation of a project website to provide future information about the project and its results.  The second day of the conference was cancelled due to a decree of the Berlin Science Senate of March 11, 2020, in the wake of the Corona crisis.

First DDP workshop with external experts

From January 29-30, 2020, the first expert workshop of the DDP project took place at GESIS in Cologne. The goal of the event was to identify requirements for domain data protocols (DDP) formulated by the research community.

Within the workshop, previous considerations and early results were discussed with experts in research and research data management. After a general introduction to the topic, participants shared their experience regarding research data management in small groups and then identified the topics that, from their point of view, are of particular importance for the development of DDPs. Participants were generally interested in the development of domain data protocols and in standardized solutions for the systematic documentation of research data management activities in particular. They emphasized the need for concrete definitions of various aspects of research data management and suggested to specify these by developing handouts and examples. 

Participants furthermore identified adequate documentation of data, data protection, and copyright, as well as archiving data for re-use, as particularly important topics, especially for junior researchers. In addition to internal project management and communication, they considered research data management as an important part of good scientific practice, i.e. the replicability of data and transparency in the research process. In addition to the inclusion of the aforementioned topics, DDPs should therefore be characterized by easy-to-understand language and contain information on the established requirements, especially for researchers with little professional experience. 

During the project, the research community will be involved in the development of the DDPs, e.g. with additional expert interviews as well as other forms of evaluations.