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Secure Data Center

The SDC Safe Room in Cologne is re-opening!

Following the closure of the Secure Data Center Safe Room in Cologne due to the ongoing corona pandemic, we are pleased to be preparing to welcome researchers once again.

Whilst we are accepting new applications for Safe Room visits, we would like to remind our researchers that we have a number of researchers who already have a contract with the SDC for data usage and who had prior visits cancelled due to the pandemic. We will be prioritising planning visits for these researchers.  

In addition, we do have a limit to how many visitors we can welcome to the Safe Room at any one time. Therefore, researchers should anticipate waiting longer for an appointment to visit the Safe Room.

We would like to thank all our researchers for their patience during these challenging times and we look forward to welcoming you to the Secure Data Center Safe Room again.

Please do contact us via email (sdc(at)gesis(dot)org) if you have any further questions.

GESIS provides long-tem 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 made available through conventional means. Instead their usage depends on implementing additional access measures.

The Secure Data Center

  • grants the opportunity for use of disclosive research data subject to special access requirements and restrictions, e.g. for reasons of data sensitivity
  • advises on questions of research data protection.

The Secure Data Center offers controlled access to disclosive data in three ways:

On-site Access

Data can be analyzed by appointment and on signing a contract (131 kB) for on-site use at our Safe Room guest workstation in Cologne (located a five minute walk from the Cologne central station).

Various technical and organizational measures (leaflet) (104 kB) assure a high level of security for accessing the data and allow responsible use of sensitive research data.

Off-site Access

Signing a contract (199 kB) for off-site access allows access to selected social science research datasets. Off-site access delivers data to users for a specified time period on condition users honor precise security requirements (leaflet) (217 kB).

Remote Access

For authorized users, the SDC supplies Remote Access to data of the Research Data Center (FDZ) of the German Federal Employment Agency (BA) at the Institute for Employment Research (IAB).

Already authorized users can send appointment requests to iab(at)gesis(dot)org.

Information on how to apply for access to the data can be found here: Data Access – On-site Use.

Breaches and contractual penalties

Licence compliance policy [.pdf (177 kB)]


The Secure Data Center advises on questions of using sensitive research data.