PsychData – Experiences from 12 Years of Research Data Archiving


  • Peter Weiland
  • Ina Dehnhard Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information (ZPID), Trier



See video of the presentation.

The benefits of making research data permanently accessible through data archives is widely recognized: costs can be reduced by reusing existing data, research results can be compared and validated with results from archived studies, fraud can be more easily detected, and meta-analyses can be conducted. Apart from that, authors may gain recognition and reputation for producing the datasets. Since 2003, the accredited research data center PsychData (part of the Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information in Trier, Germany) documents and archives research data from all areas of psychology and related fields. In the beginning, the main focus was on datasets that provide a high potential for reuse, e.g. longitudinal studies, large-scale cross sectional studies, or studies that were conducted during historically unique conditions. Presently, more and more journal publishers and project funding agencies require researchers to archive their data and make them accessible for the scientific community. Therefore, PsychData also has to serve this need.

In this presentation we report on our experiences in operating a discipline-specific research data archive in a domain where data sharing is met with considerable resistance. We will focus on the challenges for data sharing and data reuse in psychology, e.g.

  • large amount of domain-specific knowledge necessary for data curation
  • high costs for documenting the data because of a wide range on non-standardized measures
  • small teams and little established infrastructures compared with the "big data" disciplines
  • studies in psychology not designed for reuse (in contrast to the social sciences)
  • data protection
  • resistance to sharing data
At the end of the presentation, we will provide a brief outlook on DataWiz, a new project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). In this project, tools will be developed to support researchers in documenting their data during the research phase.