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Data Access: Scientific Use Files

Scientific use files (SUF) are factually anonymous datasets offered to researchers of scientific institutions for analysis.

Please note that some datasets are availablev as SUF as well as weakly anonymous versions, which can be analysed via on-site use or remote data access. For data confidentiality reasons, the SUFs contain fewer and further aggregated variables.

How to apply for the data?

How to modify an existing agreement?

Data use for students

Publishing the results

What to keep in mind when the contract period ends?

Confidentiality

How to apply for the data?

Make an application

To apply for a SUF please fill in the request form. After completing the form, please send your request as a Word document by e-mail to the FDZ (iab.fdz@iab.de). Please note that requests which are not submitted as Word documents will not be processed. An information sheet is available to help you fill in the request form. We offer the possibility to submit applications in German and English. Please note, the contract will be in the same language as the application. Therefore, please clarify if necessary with your institution whether it will sign an agreement in German/English before submitting your application.

Request form SUF

Information sheet

After verification of the data request documents the FDZ decides whether the researcher shall be granted permission to use the data.

Use Agreement

If permission is granted the user is sent the data use agreement, which has to be signed and sent back to the FDZ.  Afterwards the Scientific Use File may be downloaded from an exchange server via a secure internet connection by the user.

As the legal requirement of written form applies to our agreements, they may only be signed with a handwritten or certified electronic signature. The certified electronic signature must have a trustworthy certificate (certified by a certification authority (CA)) which will be shown when clicking on it. A self-created certificate, a signature drawn with a computer mouse or inserted as an image file, as well as a scan of the signed agreement are not permitted for our agreements.

On the website of the German Federal Network Agency (only in German) you can find a list of providers of the certified electronic signature in Germany. A list of providers in the European Union (EU) can be found on the website of the EU Commission.

Installation guide to import a certificate

How to modify an existing agreement?

In the case of existing agreements, amendments concerning the following aspects can be incorporated via a supplementary data use agreement:

  • Project end
  • Data requirement
  • Address of the premises where the data are held and processed
  • Data security concept
  • Inclusion of further members of staff

Request form amendments

Information sheet

Changes in the contents of the project and changes of the institution conducting the research or amendments after the contract has expired require a new request for data use.

Data use for students

Students may also use Scientific Use Files in the context of their theses or dissertations. In this case the faculty responsible for the student is to submit the request for data use. The SUF may then be used by the student on the faculty premises only. Students who are employed by a scientific research institution may also use the SUF there after consultation with their employer. A separate request is to be submitted for each thesis/dissertation.

Publishing the results

Researchers’ publications based on FDZ data must include a reference to the used datasets. One copy of every publication must be submitted to the FDZ.

What to keep in mind when the contract period ends?

The use of the data is limited to the duration of the use agreement. Thereafter, all extracts and copies of the data have to be deleted. A confirmation of data deletion signed by either the institution’s head or data protection officer must be submitted to the FDZ.

Form “data deletion”

Confidentiality

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