Linking Data, Samples, Software, Texts – publishing Services at GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

Dr Kirsten Elger1, Damian Ulbricht1, Roland  Bertelmann1

1GFZ German Research Centre For Geosciences, Potsdam, Germany


Research products ranging from “classical” textual manuscripts to data, samples and software underlying scholarly publications. Data and software publications with assigned digital object identifier (DOI), comprehensive metadata and documentation readable for humans and machines are best practice for FAIR data.

GFZ Data Services is a research data repository for the Geosciences domain, hosted at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam. Datasets published via GFZ Data Services range from large dynamic datasets from data intensive global monitoring networks and observatories with real-time acquisition, to satellite data, to the full suite of highly heterogeneous datasets collected by individual researchers or small teams (“long-tail data”). Data and software are published with DOI and complemented by descriptive documents or Data Reports. Furthermore, GFZ is allocating agent for the International Geo Sample Number (IGSN), the globally unique persistent identifier for physical samples with discovery functionality of digital sample descriptions via the internet.

A major focus for the data curation is to provide a comprehensive data description via standardised and machine-readable metadata, including the use of controlled vocabularies and to careful cross-reference the different research products and people/ institutions involved via their metadata using Persistent Identifier (DOI, IGSN, ORCID, Fundref). The embedding of in  DOI Landing Pages  allows discovery through search engines like the Google Dataset Search and Scholix allows to link data publications and scholarly literature, even when the data were published years after the article.


Kirsten Elger received her Ph.D. degree from the Free University Berlin, in 2003, with a field based, interdisciplinary work on the tectonics of the Altiplano Plateau in the Southern Central Andes. Following several years in private companies and maternal leaves, she returned 2010 to scientific work at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. She was responsible for the ground-data management for the evaluation of remote sensing products and data steward for two EU-funded projects (PAGE21, INTERACT). Since 2014she is head of the research data repository GFZ Data Services of the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. She has developed the data repository into an internationally recognized place for the publication of citable research data and the unique identification of physical samples with International Geo Sample Numbers IGSN. Furthermore, she is a hub for research data management at GFZ and represents the GFZ in national and international context, e.g. within the Research Data Alliance (RDA).


AeRO is the industry association focused on eResearch in Australasia. We play a critical coordination role for our members, who are actively transforming research via Information Technology. Organisations join AeRO to advance their own capabilities and services, to collaborate and to network with peers. AeRO believes researchers and the sector significantly benefit from greater communication, coordination and sharing among the increasingly different and evolving service providers.

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