Base4NFDI: Basic Services for the National Research Data Infrastructure

Jan. 01, 2023 to Dec. 31, 2028

In the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI), valuable data sets from science and research are systematically catalogued, networked and rendered usable in a sustainable and qualitative manner for the entire German science system. The NFDI is intended to create a permanent digital knowledge repository as an indispensable prerequisite for new research questions, findings and innovations. NFDI consortia, associations of different institutions within a research field, work together on an interdisciplinary basis to realise this objective.

Base4NFDI is a joint initiative of all consortia within the NDFI to promote, develop and establish reliable NFDI basic services. The objective is to improve research data management within and outside the NFDI – by creating a foundation for better discoverability, accessibility, interoperability and reusability of research data. Base4NFDI promotes the development of basic services for the entire German scientific community. Based on existing solutions from the various consortia, these basic services are intended to enable a greater degree of interoperability and efficiency for research data management. Unlike the specialised methodological consortia in the NFDI, Base4NFDI is developing interdisciplinary services as a network of all NFDI consortia. In this way, the consortium supports the provision and utilisation of research data across all disciplines and scientific fields.

Specifically, Base4NFDI lays the foundation for better usage of research data by developing technical services for data: Base4NFDI defines a basic service as a technical and organisational solution that can include storage and computing services, software, processes and workflows as well as the necessary personnel support for different service desks. Base4NFDI avoids parallel developments by adapting or expanding existing services and contributes to the systematic opening and networking of the German science system.

Participatory development of basic services

All institutions in the scientific community (and beyond) can actively participate in the development and implementation of these services and submit proposals via the project website. From these, individual proposals are selected by a panel of experts for the Base4NFDI development teams, which are funded by the Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) (German Research Foundation). After development, the NFDI basic services will be made permanently available to the scientific community.

Institutions from all important areas of scientific infrastructure provision and from all major research organisations in Germany are participating in Base4NFDI. The NFDI-wide basic service portfolio will therefore benefit all these communities and domains. The target group of the NFDI-wide basic services is the entire NFDI community. Base4NFDI is based on two pillars:

  • organisationally, on the participatory co-design of the basic services development by the communities in the NFDI Association;
  • technologically, on a common framework that creates quality-assured and coherent models for the continuous identification, promotion, development, operation and evaluation of NFDI-wide basic services.

In line with the mission to support the NFDI, all strategic and financial decisions on generic services are taken jointly by all consortia in the association's committees. A basic service must be potentially useful for all existing and future consortia.

Sonja Schimmler, research group leader at Fraunhofer FOKUS and visiting professor at TU Berlin, is co-spokesperson of Task Area 1 “Requirements, Design and Development”.