The Herzog August Bibliothek (HAB) is a leading international research centre for the cultural history of the Middle Ages and the early modern period. It maintains an international scholarship programme and serves as a centre of academic dialogue and interdisciplinary cooperation. Its comprehensive holdings form the basis of numerous research and in-depth cataloguing projects.
The present research data guidelines are a statement of the HAB’s commitment to the importance of research data in the process of academic inquiry. With reference to the Principles for Dealing with Research Data set out by the Allianz der deutschen Wissenschaftsorganisationen (Alliance of German Academic Organisations) and the Guidelines for Dealing with Research Data of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG), the HAB promotes the sustainable, transparent and responsible handling of research data.
Research data can be produced and processed using different methods. Handling this data responsibly is a prerequisite for presenting research and research findings in a transparent way. Research data will be managed, backed up, stored and disseminated over the long term in line with internationally recognised, specialist standards and in compliance with legal stipulations.
Definition of research data and research data management
Academic research produces large quantities of data, which forms the basis for further such research. The data is generated or processed in the context of academic study; its nature and form varies widely. For example, data can take the form of digital editions, digitisations, survey data, texts, metadata, graphical and visual materials, software development and simulations. Access to research data facilitates the verification and reproducibility of research results and the conclusions drawn from them.
Research data management (RDM) comprises all activities relating to the publication of research results, i.e. the creation, editing, archiving and publishing of data. As an element of good academic practice, RDM guarantees access to research results, provides for their subsequent reuse and ensures that they can be reproduced. It also verifies the quality of the results in line with international FAIR data principles.
The guidelines laid down by the DFG in its codex on good academic practice require employees of the HAB to work up and document the data arising from their research projects, making it accessible as a long-term resource. All HAB projects should create a research data management plan at the beginning of the work; model plans are available.
To the extent that legal regulations permit, the HAB supports its employees in archiving and publishing research data in reliable specialist or institutional repositories. The idea is to make this data accessible to the public under a free-use licence (Creative Commons Public Domain or Creative Commons Attribution), which must be explicitly mentioned. As far as possible, research data should be published in open, machine-readable formats in accordance with the FAIR data principles. The HAB recommends that all employees submitting project proposals also apply for third-party grants for the publication of their research results.
The HAB supports research data management and the open publication of data by
- identifying employees’ research data that is legally eligible for free access and making it available through reliable repositories. The necessary infrastructure (including the HAB’s Gitlab) is continually updated;
- ensuring that research data from projects involving the HAB is published in as complete a form as possible and made freely accessible;
- educating and advising employees on managing and publishing their research data and supporting them in addressing related legal questions; and
- integrating research data into its long-term archival concept.
Research data and data management are promoted at the HAB by a number of additional activities and projects. These include national and international cooperations – such as the Marbach-Weimar-Wolfenbüttel (MWW) Research Association – involvement in the Nationale Forschungsdateninfrastruktur (National Research Data Infrastructure, NFDI) initiatives and long-standing participation in the CLARIAH-DE and DARIAH-EU networks.
The research data guidelines come into force on 1 July 2021 and will be regularly evaluated and adapted as necessary.