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Data Services

How-to Guide data sharing

In this guide you will learn how to publish your data and related documents on GESIS and how to share them with third parties. 

Your data, documents, and information describing the data (metadata) form a package. This package is the basis for the long-term preservation of your data and its publication. 

To share your data, you can choose from three service packages (BASIS, PLUS and PREMIUM) and various access paths. These differ in scope and price. 


We also offer services that enable you to ensure and improve the quality of your data. Quality assurance, documentation on variable level, cumulation or linking with context data are possible. 

All steps and contents explained here are part of the contractual agreement with GESIS for the publication of your data. 


As the creator of data and, in most cases, documents, you have rights to their research results. For publication of the results, GESIS is granted so-called simple rights of use and reproduction via terms of use or a service agreement. 

  • Have you checked the copyrights on the data? 

Data protection

If data about individuals is to be archived, data protection issues must be clarified, e.g.: 

  • Is the publication of the data excluded for legal, contractual or ethical reasons? 
  • Are the data anonymous
  • Does the data include sensitive information, so data access should be restricted? 

Data and documents

To ensure a long-term offer for your data, documentation of the data is necessary. Part of the documentation are the following documents: 

  • Method report (Handout for creation of method report (175 kB) - German) 
  • Questionnaire
  • (If available) Code book or variable report 
  • Form for or information about obtaining informed consent 

Recommended file formats 

Data sets should be transferred in such a way that they can be used with one of the widely available statistical packages (SPSS, Stata or SAS). There are various possibilities for this: 

  1. You can pass data in the formats of common statistical programs (proprietary formats). These include SPSS System Files or Stata Dat Files. 
  2. You can transfer data in software-specific portable file formats (e.g. SAS Transport File). 
  3. You can pass data in text-based (comma-, tab- or column-separated) formats together with corresponding setup or syntax files for reading into the respective statistics programs. 

Documents should preferably be transferred in non-proprietary formats

Further information in the Workflows and Standards 

Terms of use

The use of the data is subject to certain terms of use. These may stipulate that the data may only be used for specific projects and may not be passed on to third parties: 

Archiving BASIS
(via SowiDataNet / datorium)
Archiving PLUS / PREMIUM
Terms of use SDN/datorium

General terms of use (85 kB)

Access categories

For the publication of your data, Archiving BASIS and PLUS / PREMIUM offer in principle three access categories: 

  1. A free access for all interested.
  2. Easy access for academic research and teaching.
  3. Restricted access with contact to data depositors prior to sharing the data. 

All archiving packages offer the possibility of a time delay of the publication (embargo period). 

Data access costs 

Archiving BASIS Archiving PLUS / PREMIUM
The data can be downloaded directly and free of charge  In the case of studies in access classes 0 and A, the data can be downloaded directly and free of charge after registration via the GESIS search. 
  Studies in access classes B and C (i.e., data is only passed on after approval by the data depositor) can be ordered for a fee after registration (price list (73 kB)). 

Data access


Most data are available for direct download via GESIS Search. Only in the case of restricted access do we provide data via a secure server or enable it separately.  

Secure Data Center

Data requiring special access restrictions can be made available via the Secure Data Center (SecDC). Data analysis is then performed on-site. 

Further Information in the Workflows und Standards

Data description

An essential aspect of archiving social science data is a detailed description. The description is created using standardized (metadata) schemas and includes content, methodological and formal information. The detailed description of the data is a prerequisite for finding as well as interpreting the data. 

Transfer of metadata to GESIS

Archiving BASIS Archiving PLUS / PREMIUM
SowiDataNet / datorium offers an online input form for archiving BASIS.  For PLUS and PREMIUM archiving, the data can be compiled using the DBKForm tool. 

Metadata standard

All metadata used for the publication of data is processed according to the specifications of the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI). A description of data for our catalog or a documentation of data on variable level thus comply with internationally widely used standards. 

Data registration

Every dataset that is published via GESIS automatically receives a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for pubilcation. This is issued via da|ra, a registration agency operated by the Leibniz Information Center for Economics (ZBW) and GESIS. The DOI is part of the data description. 

Further Information in the Workflows and Standards

Transfer of data and documents to GESIS

Archiving BASIS Archiving PLUS / PREMIUM
Data and documents are transferred (uploaded) as part of the publication process via the repository software.  After concluding a service agreement, data and documents can be transferred in the following ways: 

E-mail attachments are no secure means of transmission! 

Ingest check 

All data and documents that reach GESIS are subjected to an ingest check. During the inspection legal, technical and organizational points are taken into account. For example, we look out for copyrighted documents that may not be adopted, or direct identifiers in the data that may not be published. The controls are carried out in agreement with you

Further Information in the Workflows and Standards

Agreement for the publication of data and documents 

With the transfer of data and documents to GESIS, they enter into a contractual relationship. This regulates the legal, technical and organizational points that are covered in this How-to guide. When booking paid services, the agreement also includes the price for these services.

Archiving BASIS Archiving PLUS / PREMIUM

For BASIS archiving, data depositors agree to the SowiDataNet/datorium terms of use. 

For Archiving PLUS or PREMIUM, a service agreement is concluded between the data depositor and GESIS. 

Further information in the Workflows and Standards