A comparatively recent topic area within the range of activities of the German Science and Humanities Council (Wissenschaftsrat, WR) concerns the infrastructure needs in the research and higher education system.
Research infrastructures play a central role when it comes to enabling research activities in the first place – and this is not limited to “large-scale” equipment or particularly extensive infrastructures. The WR believes that scientific collections, libraries, archives and data collections, which are subsumed under the term “information infrastructures”, are also of fundamental importance for research, higher education and early career support in all scientific disciplines.
Research infrastructures are a constitutive part of the research and higher education system, without which it would be difficult to gain new scientific insight. It is therefore a public task to ensure their availability for the world of science and research.
In the humanities and social sciences, research infrastructures make an important contribution to gaining knowledge about social problems and making our cultural heritage accessible. For example, digitally processed specialist information offers completely new possibilities for the research-based indexing of library, archive and collection holdings. Thus, worldwide access to research information is enabled and new virtual working environments for researchers and scholars can be created.
In 2014, the WR developed an overall concept for the further development of information infrastructures, on the basis of which the Joint Science Conference founded a ”German Council for Scientific Information Infrastructures” (Rat für Informationsinfrastrukturen, RfII) as an overarching coordination and advisory body.
Recommendation on the topic:
Recommendations on the future of the library network system in Germany, 2011 (German version only)
Empfehlungen zur Zukunft des bibliothekarischen Verbundsystems in Deutschland (Drs. 10463-11), Januar 2011