Principles for the Responsible Handling of Research Data at the UFZ
The UFZ is one of the world's leading research centres in the field of integrated environmental research. It supports politics, business and civil society in better understanding the consequences of human activities for the environment and in developing options for social decision-making processes. The UFZ uses its extensive experience in integrated environmental research and its innovative scientific infrastructures to address complex environmental problems. It supports various scientific communities on a national and international level and is committed to the social goal of reliably collecting and processing quality-assured research data on the state and changes of our environment and to preserving and making them available to the national and international community in the long term.
Research data are collected in all scientific disciplines and therefore in all departments of the UFZ. They range from classical laboratory, field and remote sensing data to research data from cohort studies or qualitative and quantitative social research.1
The present principles are based on the recommendations of the Helmholtz Association for guidelines on the management of research data,2 on the Guidelines of the European Commission on Data Management according to the FAIR Principles3 and the guidelines of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for the handling of research data.4
- The UFZ is committed to the principles of open access to knowledge, research results and technologies. Legal regulations, in particular concerning the protection of personal data, as well as scientific interests and contractual agreements with cooperation partners and, where applicable, exploitation interests combined with at least temporary confidentiality of research data must be taken into account. In individual cases, the UFZ may specify appropriate embargo periods for exclusive first use. The researchers of the UFZ observe the principles and rules of good scientific practice.5
- The UFZ recognises the need to provide the necessary infrastructural and organisational framework conditions for research data management (specialist personnel, qualification and infrastructures) on a permanent basis. The more detailed design requires further conception.
- The UFZ recognises the FAIR principle as the superordinate principle for the sustainable provision of research data collected at the UFZ.6 The FAIR principle:
- stands for „Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable“
- serves to enable not only people, but essentially also machines, to search and use research data automatically and sustainably;
- facilitates exploration, access, integration, reuse, citation and referencing of research data;
- should apply not only to research data, but also to the tools and workflows used to generate that data.
- The UFZ supports national and international declarations on the handling of research data.
- Open Science Working Group of the Helmholtz Association (2019) Recommendations for guidelines at the Helmholtz centres on handling research data. Approved in the 109th General Assembly of the Helmholtz Association on 13-14 September 2017. DOI:
- Open Science Working Group of the Helmholtz Association (2016) Making information resources more usable: Position paper on the management of research data in the Helmholtz Association. Approved by the General Assembly on the 22nd of September 2016. Available at: [accessed 2019-08-30]
- European Commission: Directorate-General for Research & Innovation (2016) H2020 Programme: Guidelines on FAIR Data Management in Horizon 2020, v3.0. Available at [accessed 2019-08-30]
- Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - DFG (2015) Leitlinien zum Umgang mit Forschungsdaten [german]. Available at [accessed 2019-08-30]
- Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung GmbH - UFZ (2014) Guidelines for safeguarding good scientific practice in the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research GmbH – UFZ. UFZ-Guideline IR-17/12, Available at [accessed 2019-08-30]
- Wilkinson et al. (2016): The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship. Scientific Data, DOI: