Knowledge Technologies for the Social Sciences

Peter Mutschke M.A.

Wissenstechnologien für Sozialwissenschaften Open Science Technology Kommissarischer Abteilungsleiter

+49 (221) 47694-500

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. 

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)
  • DDI-RDF Discovery Vocabulary – – A vocabulary for describing social science DDI data in RDF (DISCO)
  • Submission and reviewing portal for the GESIS Panel

Portals and Value-Added Services

The main objective of the team is the development and operation of portals and information retrieval services. The team develops and evaluates experimental prototypes and support services to improve information search. A special focus is the implementation of the central search portal for GESIS which bases on a user-centered design process. The research of the team is focused on Interactive Information Retrieval.


  • Social Science Open Access Repository (SSOAR)
  • Familienservice in der Wissenschaft (BMBF-Projekt Connect)
  • Wissenschaftlerinnen-Datenbank (/femconsult)
  • GESIS-wide Search (GWS)

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.


  • Micro data information system (MISSY)
  • Registration agency for social and economic data (da|ra)
  • Integrated search network for social and economic research data (DFG-funded project da|raSearchNet)
  • Selfarchiving of social science studies (datorium)
  • Collection of items and scales for the social sciences (ZIS)
  • Instrumentenkasten zu den Forschungsorientierten Gleichstellungsstandards
  • Question editor for survey research (GLES2017)
  • Document, Explore & Build Survey Data Relations (ExploreData)
  • Research data infrastructure for the social sciences and economics (Leibniz-funded project SowiDataNet)
  • Infrastructure for the Data Documentation Initiative Standard (DDI infrastructure)

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)