In order to more precisely research the major societal challenges of the coming decades, such as digitization, climate change, and war- and pandemic-related societal changes, and to be able to identify political needs for action based on this research, the social sciences require innovative research data and methods. To open up and develop such new data spaces, the DFG has established the long-term infrastructure priority program "New Data Spaces for the Social Sciences" (SPP 2431) at the request of Cordula Artelt (LIfBi), Corinna Kleinert (LIfBi), Reinhard Pollak (GESIS), Stefan Liebig (FU Berlin) and Alexander Mehler (Goethe University Frankfurt).
"We are very pleased that the DFG has opened up the special funding format of an infrastructure priority program to the social sciences, thus enabling a boost in innovation for panel studies and the development of new data spaces," said Cordula Artelt, spokesperson of the program committee.
Funding can be applied for projects that fall into one or more of the four research areas for developing new data spaces:
- Exploration and integration of different data types (e.g., survey data, register data, geo-referenced data, Big Data, and synthetic data)
- Respondent-driven designs (e.g., related to recruitability, hard-to-reach populations, responsive survey designs)
- Instrument validity (e.g., in relation to method-inherent bias, generalizability, methods and instruments for measuring new constructs)
- Multimodal data acquisition (e.g., online surveys, app-based surveys, virtual interviews, augmented reality)
All application information will be available on the website www.new-data-spaces.de after March 15, 2023.
New data types for social science research
The new infrastructure program aims to consistently modernize social science survey methods and research data against the backdrop of current social upheavals. In the application, the initiators write: "Germany has a number of established longitudinal survey programs. Systematic and forward-looking social science research must continuously improve the existing programs and additionally open up and make available new types of data based on administrative processes, digital communication, and mobility, as well as new forms of data collection (such as virtual interviews and quality measures for method-immanent biases)."
Projects that will be located in one or more of the four above-mentioned research areas of the infrastructure priority program "New Data Spaces for the Social Sciences" will be supported by a central project. This Research Infrastructure & Innovation Lab provides IT-based services and promotes the feeding of the innovative methods and data developed in the research projects into the existing research data infrastructures of the social, behavioral, educational and economic sciences in Germany. The use of existing panel studies for the development of new methods and research data represents a central core offering of the infrastructure focus and the institutions involved in it. The development of a research-based infrastructure for new types of survey data as well as the dissemination and communication of research results with a view to their possible implementation in different types of studies are further central services. The legal challenges and ethical requirements of new data types and linkages are addressed by the fourth field of the central project, which deals with current and emerging issues as well as future research on data protection and data ethics.
With the goal of collectively contributing to the improvement of data spaces for the social sciences, the Research Infrastructure & Innovation Lab targets excellent research opportunities within and across projects. Based on various formats for exchange and networking with national and international research communities, the results and findings of the priority program will systematically contribute to the establishment of innovative methods and new data spaces in the social science research landscape.
As an infrastructure priority program, SPP 2431 can be extended again by the DFG after a funding period of 6 years.