Data use concept and data infrastructure for the Federal Environment Agency's social and natural science databases

The German Environment Agency is the federal government’s central environmental authority and also a research institution. It advises policy-makers, informs the public, deals with federal and state authorities and international institutions, and conducts scientific research on environmental law issues. In performing these tasks, the German Environment Agency collects and processes a wide range of data from various sources: It collects and analyses environmental data itself, assigns research contracts to scientists and research institutes such as the UfU, and receives and processes data from various authorities at federal and state level. The type of data is also diverse and includes measurement data, documents, statistics, images, etc.

The German Environment Agency’s existing databases are of high value – both for the (scientific) work of the institute itself and for scientists and citizens who deal with environmental issues. However, this value can only be fully realised if the German Environment Agency’s data are easily accessible and processed by its staff and external users. For this reason, the Science Council recommended in its 2015 statement on the German Environment Agency: “As part of a research strategy, it is necessary to develop a data use concept that also includes the possibilities for systematic data use by external scientists. This is precisely the task of the present research project.

As a subsidiary partner, the UfU is involved in the assessment of the legal issues associated with the development of a data use concept. After all, the administration as well as internal and external availability and use of data raises a multitude of legal questions. In particular, data protection and copyright requirements must be observed when using and passing on data stocks. However, there are also publication obligations and obligations to release data (open data and freedom of information). It must therefore be ensured that the respective legal requirements are observed when developing the data use concept and its subsequent implementation. One focus is on the definition of usage classes and licence types.

The project is funded by the German Environment Agency and the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

Project duration:
12/2019 – 12/2022

Cooperating partners
con terra GmbH

Funded by:
German Envorinment Agency

Logo Umweltbundesamt

Dr. Johannes Franke