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"So that what fits together grows together: How we can better exploit the potential of data"

1 September 2020: Tuesday Dialogue of the Förderfonds Wissenschaft in Berlin

"So that what fits together grows together: How we can better exploit the potential of data"
Source: DIW Berlin/Florian Schuh


Stefan Liebig, Director of the Socio-Economic Panel and Member of the Board of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), preceded his presentation at the first Tuesday Dialogue with the question: What data are available to answer to important future challenges, and how can we better tap this potential and possibly even expand it considerably? This question was of high actual relevance: the current corona epidemic had once again underlined the importance of access to methodologically sound and high-quality research data, also in order to provide politicians and companies with a more reliable basis for decision-making.

Berlin has a wealth of information that has not yet been adequately developed - and this applies both to the data provided in various disciplines and to the scientific competence with regard to its evaluation. By linking different types of data according to uniform standards and interdisciplinary cooperation between the empirically working research institutions, Berlin could take on a key role in this future field, quasi as a "data capital".

However, this would also require a fundamental change in the way the public deals with data. Data should be understood as a social good that is central to our future and whose maintenance and expansion is a joint task of science, industry and politics. Ultimately, however, not only decision-makers, but also individual citizens should develop a better understanding of the importance of research data for solving key future tasks.

In order to achieve this, it is first of all important to strengthen people's confidence in the professional handling of their data by scientific institutions (for example in the context of research data centres). In addition, competence in data literacy must be developed, not only in politics, administration and business, but also in the media and in schools. Science communication could also play an important mediating role in this task and in knowledge transfer.

"The online format 'Tuesday Dialogues' of the Förderfonds Wissenschaft in Berlin offers the ideal framework for a selected group of experts to discuss socially relevant issues in the field of population research. The discussion that emerged after my presentation clearly demonstrated the importance of research data in our time. I hope that we will continue to focus more closely on and expand the topics of data quality, data competence and data infrastructures," said Stefan Liebig, summing up the event.