SOEP-IS Regulatories

SOEP-IS Regulatories

Governing Submission of Proposals for SOEP-IS

Researchers from universities and research institutes in Germany and abroad are eligible to submit proposals for the SOEP Innovation Sample (SOEP-IS) throughout the year. The fieldwork normally takes place from September to December of each year with a longitudinal sample of (currently) about 1,500 to 2,000 households and about 3,000 adult respondents. To be considered in a specific wave, proposals have to be submitted by December 31st of the year prior to the potential implementation of the study at the latest. We strive to serve different academic disciplines: in addition to proposals from economics and the social sciences at large, we particularly welcome proposals from the behavioral, medical, and biomedical sciences.


  • Proposals can be submitted by email to the SOEP survey management at:
  • All proposals must be written in English.
  • Proposals should not overlap with existing SOEP data in terms of topics and questions (see SOEPinfo).
  • Proposals should be between two and five pages long.
  • Proposals should be accompanied by the names, addresses, affiliations and short CVs with the main publications for all of the participating researchers.
  • Proposals must specify requested sample size, sample composition (entire SOEP-IS, a random subsample, or a specific target group), mode of data collection, repeated measurement (where applicable), etc.
  • Proposals must clearly state the research question(s) and the specific scientific motivation.
  • Proposals must specify the content of the questions.
  • Proposals must contain a preliminary version of the complete set of proposed survey questions (also in German if possible).
  • If the proposal is accepted, the SOEP survey management will draft versions of the questions that will then be finalized in collaboration with the proposing researchers.
  • Proposals must contain an estimate of the length of interview time needed for the proposed questions, which should not exceed 15 minutes in total. Proposals with minor response burden (1 or 2 additional minutes) are especially welcome.
  • The core mode of data collection to date has been computer-assisted personal interviews (CAPI); the proposal should clarify whether and, if so, why other modes of data collection are needed. Data collection modes other than CAPI must be financed by the researcher.
  • The proposal should ideally specify and discuss the potential for subsequent integration in the SOEP core sample (although this is not a requirement for the proposal).

Evaluation Criteria

All proposals are evaluated according to scientific quality, suitability, feasibility, and costs. Specifically, the following considerations are relevant:

Scientific quality and relevance

  • Potential for scientific breakthrough
  • Sound analytical framework and empirical design
  • Appropriateness of the proposed research methodology
  • Scientific merit of the researcher or research group. A plus, though not a requirement, is an international dimension.

Suitability for the SOEP Innovation Sample

  • What is the added value of using a longitudinal household survey?
  • To what degree will the longitudinal nature of SOEP-IS be utilized?
  • To what degree is the multi-disciplinary nature of SOEP-IS be utilized?
  • How does the proposal relate to the core variables (asked each year) of SOEP-IS?


  • Questions must be comprehensible to respondents from different educational backgrounds.
  • Questions must respect the respondents' privacy.
  • "Attractive" questions are preferred.
  • Questions with low response burden (1 or 2 additional minutes) are preferred.

Costs for SOEP-IS

  • The SOEP-IS is an infrastructure for the international research community. Survey questions from accepted proposals will be introduced into SOEP-IS without any additional costs.
  • If there is a need to integrate additional subsamples into the SOEP-IS, external funding is expected to be raised by the proposer.
  • Similarly, if behavioral experiments are part of a proposal, or if non-survey contents are part of a proposal (e.g., biomarkers), external funding is expected to be raised by the proposer.

Open access for scientific research community

The SOEP-IS is an infrastructure for the entire research community. The SOEP data are available as open access data for the entire scientific community. Survey questions will thus be available as scientific use data no later than one year after the proposer has been given access to the data. The same procedure applies to non-survey data funded by the proposer.

Every analysis of data from the SOEP-IS should be pre-published in the SOEPpaper series (if the journal's regulations do not allow this then re-prints are welcome as an alternative).


  1. All proposers MUST contact the SOEP survey team prior to handing in their proposal. Proposals submitted without prior consultation with the SOEP survey team will not be considered.
  2.  The survey team will give its preliminary recommendations on general feasibility of the proposal without evaluating the scientific merit of the study. The SOEP team will decide once per year (in spring) on submitted proposals. To be considered for evaluation and possible implementation in any given year, proposals must be submitted by December 31st of the year prior to the study implementation.
  3. The SOEP survey team will evaluate the need for additional pretests or pilot studies.
  4. Following a final decision of methodological feasibility, two further lines of evaluation are possible:

    A.         If the proposal is funded by an external peer-reviewed funding agency (e.g., DFG or NIH in the US), acceptance for funding will be considered proof of the scientific merit of the study and the module will be included in SOEP-IS without further evaluation.

    B.      If the proposal is not funded by an external peer-reviewed agency but by private foundations, the SOEP Survey Committee will evaluate the proposal and come to a decision regarding the scientific merit of the research proposal. The proposal will be accepted if two members of the SOEP Survey Committee provide a short letter of support.
  5. Following a positive evaluation (via either A or B above), SOEP survey management will suggest the next possible implementation of the SOEP-IS and will finalize the necessary field preparations.
  6. The number of proposals to be accepted is unlimited. The timing of proposal implementation is at the discretion of SOEP survey management, according to what is considered to be appropriate in line with other modules, overall content, and the burden to respondents.