Data Operation and Research Data Center (RDC SOEP)

The research area at a glance
German Socio- Economic Panel study

Research Area

Data Operation and Research Data Center (RDC SOEP)

Research profile

The Research Data Center of the SOEP, as part of the SOEP Department at DIW Berlin, offers a comprehensive range of support services and coordinates access to the SOEP data. In all of its work, the SOEP Research Data Center adheres closely to the Criteria of the German Data Forum for the accreditation of research data centers.

The team makes the anonymized SOEP data available to the research community. Interested researchers are invited to contact the SOEP to sign a data distribution contract. This is the precondition for use of the SOEP’s scientific use files. The form of data access provided to users depends on the data protection regulations that apply to the data set in question. Access to the scientific use files is provided through a personal download link sent to users. More sensitive data, for instance, regional data, are made available to users by remote execution, remote access, or at a guest research workstation at DIW Berlin.

The team is responsible for processing the anonymized data sent to DIW Berlin by Kantar Public in Munich so that they can be used for both longitudinal and cross-sectional analysis. Data processing involves generation of user-friendly variables and preparation of the data for use with standard statistical software packages. Further focal points of the team’s work include analysis of refusals to answer individual questions or entire questionnaires, development of methods of compensating for these refusals, and the provision of small-scale indicators. The team also produces comprehensive documentation on these activities and reports on key research findings, most of which can be found on the SOEP Research Data Center website. Members of the team have also developed a web-based tool ( following the DDI standard for documentation of scientific studies to present all of the SOEP and SOEP-Related Studies to our users. The SOEP Research Data Center also provides user support in the framework of methodological lectures and workshops at universities. A guest program enables users to access the data on site at the SOEP Research Data Center. Guest visits are required for access to the sensitive regional data, which are subject to strict data protection provisions. As a special service to users, the SOEP Research Data Center also offers personal advice to researchers who want to use the SOEP as reference data or a control sample for their own studies. The team has a number of international research partnerships. These forms of cooperation make the SOEP a crucial part of the international data infrastructure. The overarching aim of the SOEP research infrastructure is to strengthen the empirical foundation for international comparative cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis. The SOEP data are used widely by researchers in Germany and abroad in international comparative analysis.

Division Head: Dr. Jan Goebel