Criteria for the use of the SOEP data and for the service provided by the SOEP Survey Group

  1. The anonymized SOEP microdata are provided exclusively for scholarly research and statistical purposes. The distribution or provision of the data is carried out by the Research Data Center (FDZ) located in the SOEP Department.

  2. Data access is subject to the statutory data protection regulations. The task of the FDZ-SOEP is to facilitate data access through specific measures.

  3. Access to the microdata is subject to legal regulations that guarantee equal treatment of data users. These regulations also stipulate that no application for data use can be treated preferentially or delayed because of its content. The FDZ-SOEP does not evaluate the content of submitted research projects in any way, but only verifies their compliance with data protection and contractual regulations. SOEP considers an application to be contractually admissible based on its guarantee to respondents that the data collected will only be used for research purposes, that is, that non-research purposes are contractually non-admissible.

    Analyses that do not breach data protection principles and are contractually admissible, that is, analyses that have come about based on a data use contract, can and should be published independently and autonomously by the data users.

    Along with providing the data and various modes of data access, the FDZ-SOEP also offers user-friendly products for data analysis as well as comprehensive documentation. Information on the data is provided in standardized form over the Internet, in data reports and methodological reports, and through user training sessions (SOEPcampus). Individual advice can also be provided (SOEPhotline). For researchers planning their own studies using the SOEP as a control sample or reference dataset, the FDZ-SOEP offers tailored advice.

  4. The tasks of the FDZ-SOEP include the organization of and participation in scholarly events introducing the available data material and presenting the available data and modes of access to potentially interested parties (especially universities, non-university research institutes, and universities of applied sciences) (SOEPcampus).

    The FDZ-SOEP is actively involved in the discussion on the analytical potential of existing data, as well as in discussions on possibilities for using and developing the data infrastructure further for scholarly purposes.

  5. The staff of the FDZ-SOEP is actively and intensively involved in conducting research. Only scholars doing research themselves can know the data and understand current discussions on methodology and research issues and thereby provide adequate advice to users. The research conducted by the FDZ-SOEP users does not entail exclusive access to the data. As soon as the anonymized and documented microdata become available, they are provided to all researchers simultaneously.