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Expert Guidance: The Legal Helpdesk as a Central Point of Contact for Legal Questions in Research Data Management

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Pieter Brueghel the Younger - Village Lawyer
Expert Guidance: The Legal Helpdesk as a Central Point of Contact for Legal Questions in Research Data Management

“What do the changes in copyright law mean for our digital collections?” “What criteria do we need to consider for effective consent to data processing?” NFDI4Culture’s Legal Helpdesk addresses these and many other questions. There is a great need for legal advice in the diverse field of research data on tangible and intangible cultural assets. FIZ Karlsruhe offers researchers within the consortium tailored advice on a wide range of topics – from data protection and copyright to ethical aspects in research data management. This includes addressing simple queries, discussing data usage plans, and dealing with projects that have to consider complex legal conditions due to a variety of different data. Additionally, the Legal Helpdesk organizes workshops and seminars on current topics such as data protection tools, copyright in open-access publications, or specific requirements for access control for digital scientific archives.

Before the launch of NFDI4Culture, researchers had limited access to legal help for research data issues. Legal departments focused on staffing and administrative matters, while data protection officers often lacked sufficient expertise. The Legal Helpdesk fills this gap and has become a central point of contact for researchers, especially in cultural studies and humanities. It is approached by independent researchers, research groups, projects, and GLAM institutions (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums).

Through consultation, legal or ethical obstacles can often be overcome. Typical successful examples from the past two years include a publication with audio examples from music research, an archive of panel discussion recordings from theatre studies, a literary history database, and an art history dissertation.

DIKUSA, a project for networking digital cultural data in Saxony illustrates the complex legal situation that often occurs in projects: Research workflows include interviews, images, site plans of extraction areas, and lead to many overlapping legal questions and uncertainty among the researchers. Through workshops, consultations, and recommendations on legally compliant consent and documentation of the project, the discussed topics could be immediately implemented in DISKUSA. The exchange between researchers and legal experts at eye level thus leads to legally secure research and sustainable handling of the research data itself.

type : CreateAction
actionStatus : CompletedActionStatus
agent: Task Area 5: Overarching technical, ethical and legal activities