GESIS provides long-term preservation for an extensive holding of survey and other research data. These data are curated, processed, and documented to provide re-usable data to the broad scientific community. However, some of these data cannot be accessed in the usual way as they are more detailed and sensitive. Researchers can instead access these data via the Secure Data Center where additional access measures are applied.
The Secure Data Center is located in Cologne and
- provides access to a range of disclosive research data that is subject to special access requirements and restrictions, e.g., for reasons of data sensitivity
- provides advice on research data protection and statistical disclosure control.
The Secure Data Center offers the following services:
On-site access to sensitive data is only available in the Secure Data Center to researchers who can fulfil the following requirements:
- You must be at least at the level of PhD student
- You must be from a recognised research institute
- You must have a clearly specified research project
- You must check any specific access restrictions for the study that you wish to use (these can be found in the studies’ micro-site findable through the GESIS website search function)
- You must be able to travel to one of the designated Safe Rooms to access the data
Applying for sensitive data involves several different steps that must be completed before access can be granted. We will advise you of any outstanding actions and be on hand to answer any queries you may have.
- Complete a Regional or Geo Data Form if required (check the study’s micro-site for details)
- Download and read carefully the ‘Applying to the Secure Data Center’ guide which includes the link to the Data Use Agreement
- Download and complete fully the Data Use Agreement making sure you read the terms and conditions thoroughly to understand your rights and responsibilities
- Send the Data Use Agreement to sdc(at)gesis(dot)org, this will be checked and forwarded to the data provider for approval
- Once the project is approved by the data provider, we will be in touch to schedule your visit and prepare your project
A number of technical and organizational measures (leaflet) (104 kB) are also in place that ensure data confidentiality and security are maintained and that allow researchers to use these data safely.
Available on-site access locations
Visits are possible at the following locations:
- The Secure Data Center Safe Room, Cologne – visits possible Monday to Friday 09:00-16:30 (location map)
- The GML Safe Room at GESIS Mannheim - visits possible Monday to Tuesday 10:00 – 16:00 (location map)
- The Safe Room at the UK Data Service SecureLab in Colchester, UK - visits possible Monday to Friday. Please note the UKDS SecureLab has a regular shutdown period for maintenance every Tuesday between 09:00-12:30 (GMT), therefore visits are not possible on Tuesday mornings. (location details)
Please note that closures for Public Holidays will apply in all locations.
Please note that due to the limited availability of appointments at the GML Mannheim and the UK Data Service, researchers may wait longer for an appointment at these access points. To schedule a visit to any of these locations, researchers must first complete the standard Secure Data Center application process and should state clearly which Safe Room they want to visit when they send their Data Use Agreement.
On-site access to restricted data available through other institutions
GESIS also provides access points at the Safe Rooms of the Secure Data Center, Cologne and the German Microdata Lab (GML), Mannheim to restricted data made available through the following institutions:
Research Data Centre of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA) at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB):
- Researchers must first complete the IAB application process. Information about the process can be found on the IAB website.
- More information about on-site access can be found at the IAB website.
- Requests for IAB researcher visits to the Secure Data Center, Cologne should be made via the online booking system.
- Requests for IAB researcher visits to the GML, Mannheim can be made via the online booking system. For further questions regarding Saferoom access at the GML please contact: idan-mannheim(at)gesis(dot)org.
UK Data Service (UKDS) SecureLab, United Kingdom
- Researchers must first complete the UKDS application process. Information about the process can be found via the UKDS website.
- An overview of the available data can be found via the UKDS website.
- To request a researcher visit to access UKDS data at either Cologne or Mannheim, please complete the online booking form.
- The UKDS SecureLab has a regular shutdown period for maintenance every Tuesday between 09:00-12:30 (UK time), therefore visits are not possible on Tuesday mornings.
CASD, Secure Data Access Center, France
- Researchers must first complete the CASD application process. Information about the service and the data available can be found here.
- To request a researcher visit to access CASD data at the Safe Room in Cologne, please email the Secure Data Center sdc(at)gesis(dot)org.
- To request a researcher visit to access CASD data at the GML at Mannheim, please email idan-mannheim(at)gesis(dot)org
The GML at Mannheim also provide access to additional restricted data from the Netherlands through the International Data Access Network (IDAN) project. More information can be found on their website: Safe Room Mannheim – GML (gesis.org).
These remote access connections were made possible through the International Data Access Network (IDAN) and the Social Science and Humanities Open Cloud projects. More information about the remote access connections set up by the IDAN project can be found on the project website: IDAN international data access network.
The Secure Data Center advises on questions of using sensitive research data.