Knowledge Technologies for the Social Sciences

Prof. Dr. Stefan Dietze

Wissenstechnologien für Sozialwissenschaften

+49 (221) 47694-421

The department Knowledge Technologies for the Social Sciences (WTS) develops new, digital services for the social sciences in collaboration with the other scientific departments and on the basis of innovative knowledge technologies. The department plays a cross-cutting role at GESIS in that it generates digital services relating to all phases of the research data cycle and ensures the better integration and connectivity of GESIS’ digital services. Of particular importance in this regard is the creation of integrated information services for GESIS.

In order to be able to guarantee high quality digital services in the light of the rapid pace of change in the information and knowledge technologies, the department conducts research in the area of applied computer and information science – in particular, in the area of information retrieval and semantic web. Here, research focuses on interactive information retrieval and data linking in the application field of social sciences. Positively evaluated research prototypes are integrated into the standard operation of the services. Hence, research serves to directly improve service. 

We would particularly like to highlight the following offers from our department: 

Data Linking

Main tasks of the team are the development of methods for an automatic detection of links between different information objects inside GESIS and to external data sources as well as the publication of these links as Linked Open Data (LOD). The objective is an improvement of the connection of information and data in the social sciences. The research in this team focuses in the field of Semantic Web.


  • Social Spatial Science Research Data Infrastructure (DFG-funded project SoRa)
  • Integration of Research Data and Literature in the Social Sciences (DFG-funded project InFoLis I and II)
  • DDI-RDF Discovery Vocabulary – A vocabulary for describing social science DDI data in RDF (DISCO)
  • Submission and reviewing portal for the GESIS Panel
  • LOD ResearchGraph

Portals and Value-Added Services

The main task of the team "Portals and value-added services" is the development and operation of portals and services for information research. The team develops and evaluates prototypes and supports services to improve information retrieval. A special focus is the implementation of an integrated search portal for GESIS following a user-centered design process. The research interest of the team is on Interactive Information Retrieval.


  • GESIS-wide search: Find information about social science research data. Publications to research data and open access publications.
  • SSOAR - Social Science Open Access Repository
  • LeibnizOpen: Development of an Open Access Repository for the Leibniz Association
  • Connect. Family Service in Academia

 Third-party funded projects

  • AMUR: User Guidance and System Tuning for Search Sessions
  • OSCOSS: Opening Scholarly Communication in the Social Sciences
  • FID Politikwissenschaft (POLLUX): Development of a specialised information service for political science
  • EXCITE: Extraction of Citations from PDF Documents
  • Self-citations: Analyzing Self-citations in WoS

Open Science Technology

Main focus of the team are sustainable infrastructures for Open Science. The team is closely connected to the Leibniz research alliance “Science 2.0”. The current research focus addresses the evaluation and development of Text Mining methods for the recognition and disambiguation of entities relevant to the social sciences as well as links between publications and research data in order to improve the replicability of research results.


  • Open Mining Infrastructure for Text and Data (EU-funded project OpenMinTeD)
  • TraininG towards a society of data-saVvy inforMation prOfessionals to enable open leadership Innovation (EU-funded project MOVING)


The superordinate task of the GESIS Architecture Team is to develop a common, sustainable technology stack for all GESIS’ digital services and infrastructures. In addition to the ongoing observation and evaluation of current technologies, the team’s remit includes the technological processing of complex cross-phase data portals and infrastructures. The research area of the team is Interactive Information Retrieval.

  • Projects
    • Service
      • da|ra (Registration agency for social and economic data)
      • da|raSearchNet (Integrated search network for social and economic research data) & Service
      • Missy (Micro data information system)
      • Datorium (Selfarchiving of social science studies)
      • SowiDataNet (Research data infrastructure for the social sciences and economics) & Service
      • ZIS (Collection of items and scales for the social sciences)
      • CESSDA Controlled Vocabulary Manager
      • SERISS Projektmanagement Plattform (Synergies for Europe’s Research Infrastructures in the Social Sciences)
      • SERISS Knowledge Management Plattform
      • SERISS Harmonization Plattform
    • Research
      • X-HUB (Infrastructure for multidisciplinary re-Use of experimental research data) & Service
      • DDI Infrastructure
        • Questionnaire editor
        • Variable editor
        • Study editor
        • Data portal

Digital Social Science and Humanities

The team works on methods for automatic and semi-automatic extraction of information from web sources and semantic data enrichment. The research is focused on Semantic Web and Data Retrieval.


  • Smart information extraction for literature databases (Smart Harvesting I + II)
  • Infrastructure for the pretest database (Pretest)
  • Computer-aided modeling of signatures and features of relevant scientific content (SMAFIRA)