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By Frank Scholze, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) | Mar 18, 2013

Research data are valuable and ubiquitous. The permanent access to research data is a challenge for all stakeholders in the scientific community. The long-term preservation of and principle of open access to research data offer broad opportunities for the scientific community. Vitally important, however, is to guarantee that research data sets can be found and cited.

More and more universities and research centers and their scientific communities are starting to build research data repositories allowing permanent access to data sets in a trustworthy environment. Due to disciplinary requirements, the landscape of data repositories is rather heterogeneous. Thus it is sometimes difficult for researchers, funding bodies, publishers and scholarly institutions to select appropriate repositories for archiving, retrieving or citing research data.

Recognizing these challenges and needs, the School of Library and Information Science at Humboldt University Berlin, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences – Library and Information Services, and the Library of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) partnered to form The goal of is to establish a global registry of research data repositories.

The registry will cover research data repositories from different academic disciplines, and will be a source of information on the permanent storage of and access to data sets for researchers, funding bodies, publishers and scholarly institutions. In the course of this mission, aims to promote a culture of sharing, increased access and better visibility of research data. In the first phase of the project, in 2012, the partners:

  • Conceptualized and implemented a Web-based registry of research data repositories
  • Defined selection criteria of research data repositories
  • Visualized descriptive criteria using icons
  • Developed and implemented the first extensive metadata schema to describe research data repositories1

To advance these issues we signed a memorandum of understanding with DataCite in February 2012.

The alpha version of the registry has been online since December 2012. The launch of version 1.0 is planned for spring 2013. Metadata that has been entered from existing sources will be reviewed and complemented if necessary. This will help to ensure the quality of the description of a given repository; it does not make a statement on the quality of the research data contained in the repository.

We have planned the following tasks in 2013 to complete the project:

  • Develop interfaces for data import and export
  • Support online workflows for repository managers and reviewers
  • Foster contacts with repository managers and research data communities

The partners are actively involved in the German Initiative for Network Information (DINI). DINI is committed to improving the information and communication services in higher education institutions by providing the necessary information infrastructures locally and nationally.

The partners intend to establish as a reliable service within the emerging infrastructure for research data management. is funded by the German Research Foundation DFG.

Further information can be found at:


1 Vierkant, P., Spier, S., Rücknagel, J., Gundlach, J., Fichtmüller, D., Pampel, H., Kindling, M., et al. (2012). Vocabulary for the Registration and Description of Research Data Repositories. Version 2.0. Retrieved from