The Secure Data Center (SDC)

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.


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